Rank and organization:
Corporal, U.S. Army, Company
L, 143d Infantry, 36th Infantry Division.
Place and date:
Near Altavilla, Italy, 13 September 1943.
Entered service at:
Pittsburgh, Pa. Birth: Pittsburgh, Pa.
13, 18 February 1944.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of
duty. On 13 September 1943, near Altavilia, Italy, Cpl. Kelly voluntarily joined a patrol
which located and neutralized enemy machinegun positions. After this hazardous duty he
volunteered to establish contact with a battalion of U.S. infantry which was believed to
be located on Hill 315, a mile distant. He traveled over a route commanded by enemy
observation and under sniper, mortar, and artillery fire; and later he returned with the
correct information that the enemy occupied Hill 315 in organized positions. Immediately
thereafter Cpl. Kelly, again a volunteer patrol member, assisted materially in the
destruction of 2 enemy machinegun nests under conditions requiring great skill and
courage. . Having effectively fired his weapon until all the ammunition was exhausted, he
secured permission to obtain more at an ammunition dump. Arriving at the dump, which was
located near a storehouse on the extreme flank of his regiment's position, Cpl. Kelly
found that the Germans were attacking ferociously at this point. He obtained his
ammunition and was given the mission of protecting the rear of the storehouse. He held his
position throughout the night. The following morning the enemy attack was resumed. Cpl.
Kelly took a position at an open window of the storehouse. One machine gunner had been
killed at this position and several other soldiers wounded. Cpl. Kelly delivered
continuous aimed and effective fire upon the enemy with his automatic rifle until the
weapon locked from overheating. Finding another automatic rifle, he again directed
effective fire upon the enemy until this weapon also locked. At this critical point, with
the enemy threatening to overrun the position, Cpl. Kelly picked up 60-mm. mortar shells,
pulled the safety pins, and used the shells as grenades, killing at least 5 of the enemy.
When it became imperative that the house be evacuated, Cpl. Kelly, despite his sergeant's
injunctions, volunteered to hold the position until the remainder of the detachment could
withdraw. As the detachment moved out, Cpl. Kelly was observed deliberately loading and
firing a rocket launcher from the window. He was successful in covering the withdrawal of
the unit, and later in joining his own organization. Cpl. Kelly's fighting determination
and intrepidity in battle exemplify the highest traditions of the U.S. Armed Forces.