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Staff Sargeant John Kelly

Staff Sargeant John D. Kelly

DSC for 6 June 1944

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Sergeant John J. Kelly (ASN: 6947032), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 459th Anti-Aircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion, in action against enemy forces on 6 June 1944, at Normandy, France. On that date, upon landing at Omaha Beach, France, Sergeant Kelly saw an enemy machine gun firing into troops that were trying to get ashore. Heedless of intervening mine fields, he quickly organized a party to lead against the enemy emplacement. Despite a serious hand wound he had received, and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, he advanced ahead of the attacking party and hurled a hand grenade into the enemy post, killing the entire crew. When enemy snipers directed fire against engineers who were clearing the mine fields, Sergeant Kelly voluntarily and courageously led an assault which cleared the snipers from the sector. Through his inspiring example and at the risk of his own safety, he played a large part in establishing the beachhead. The extraordinary heroism and courageous acts of Sergeant Kelley reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Medal of Honor

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company E, 324th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division. On 25 June 1944, in the vicinity of Fort du Roule, Cherbourg, France, when Corporal Kelly's unit was pinned down by heavy enemy machinegun fire emanating from a deeply entrenched strongpoint on the slope leading up to the fort, Corporal Kelly volunteered to attempt to neutralize the strongpoint. Arming himself with a pole charge about ten feet long and with 15 pounds of explosive affixed, he climbed the slope under a withering blast of machinegun fire and placed the charge at the strongpoint's base. The subsequent blast was ineffective, and again, alone and unhesitatingly, he braved the slope to repeat the operation. This second blast blew off the ends of the enemy guns. Corporal Kelly then climbed the slope a third time to place a pole charge at the strongpoint's rear entrance. When this had been blown open he hurled hand grenades inside the position, forcing survivors of the enemy guncrews to come out and surrender. The gallantry, tenacity of purpose, and utter disregard for personal safety displayed by Corporal Kelly were an incentive to his comrades and worthy of emulation by all.

S/Sgt. John Kelly on Film

Watch S/Sgt Kelly on the following combat film dvds by Combat Reels:

79th Infantry Division in Fall 1944 Europe

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