Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Kelly, John J.

Kelly, John J.

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Private, USMC, (1898-1957)

John Joseph Kelly was born on 24 June 1898 in Chicago, Illinois. In May 1917 He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps from that state and participated in combat in France as a member of the Seventy-Eighth Company, Sixth Regiment, Second Division. On 3 October 1918, during the Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge, Kelly ran through the artillery barrage, advanced 100 yards forward of the front line, and attacked an enemy machine-gun nest, killing the gunner and one other crew member. He then returned through the barrage with eight prisoners. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" on this occasion, he was awarded the Medal of Honor by both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army. On 15 March 1919, General John J. Pershing, USA, Commander-in-Chief of the American Expeditionary Force, presented the award to Kelly in Coblenz, Germany. Returning to the United States, he was honorably discharged in August 1919 at the Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia. John J. Kelly died on 20 November 1957 and is buried at All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines, Illinois.


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