HomeResearchMarine Corps History DivisionInformation for UnitsMedal of Honor Recipients By UnitPvt John Joseph Kelly

PRIVATE
JOHN JOSEPH KELLY, USMC (DECEASED) 

 

Army Medal of Honor Citation

Navy Medal of Honor Citation

John Joseph Kelly, born in Chicago, Illinois, on 24 June 1898, enlisted as a private in the U.S. Marine Corps on 15 May 1917 in Port Royal, South Carolina. On 5 September 1917, he joined the 7th Company, 6th Regiment, at Quantico, Virginia, and on 12 September 1917, he was transferred to the 78th Company. His regiment embarked, 19 January 1918, on the USS Henderson at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and arrived at St. Nazaire, France, on 5 February 1918.

Private Kelly participated in engagements at Chateau Thierry, St. Mihiel, Blanc Mont and the Meuse-Argonne. In the desperate fighting at Blanc Mont Ridge he ran "100 yards in advance of the front line and attacked an enemy machine-gun nest," for which he was awarded two Medals of Honor (Army and Navy).

He also participated in the march to the Rhine River and in the occupation of the Coblenz Bridgehead, from 17 November to 12 December 1918. Pvt Kelly was honorably discharged, with character "Excellent" at the Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia, on 14 August 1919.

The circumstances of Pvt Kelly's Medal of Honor decoration were unique. It was pinned on his chest by General John J. Pershing, Commander-in-Chief, American Expeditionary Force, while Pvt Kelly was with the Army of Occupation. With him in line, waiting for other decorations were U.S. Army Major Generals Dickman, Muir, Haan and Hines. His foreign decorations include the French Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star; French Croix de Guerre with Palm; Montenegrin Silver Medal for bravery; the French Medaille Militaire; and the Italian Croce al Merito di Guerra.

At the time of his death, 20 November 1957, his address was listed as Chicago, Illinois.

World War I Medal of Honor