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Cpl. Thomas J. Kelly

Date of Award: November 1, 1945
Conflict: World War II
Branch: U.S. Army

Cpl. Thomas J. Kelly It was December 8, 1941, the day after the Pearl Harbor attack when a young athlete named Thomas Kelly from Brooklyn, N.Y., attempted to enlist into the United States Marine Corps, and was turned away because he failed the vision test. Physically fit and eager to serve his country, Kelly and many of his football teammates entered the Army through the draft. He originally trained as a medic, but at his request, he was positioned as an infantryman with medical training. Kelly joined the Medical Detachment, 48th Armored Infantry Battalion, 7th Armored Division, and as a young medic he earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in the line of duty on April 5, 1945, in the countryside of Germany. Kelly saved numerous lives in skirmishes stretching across Europe, including wounded German soldiers who would have otherwise had no access to medical treatment.

Citation: “Cpl. Kelly reached safety with uninjured remnants of the unit, but, on realizing the extent of casualties suffered by the platoon, voluntarily retraced his steps and began evacuating his comrades under direct machinegun fire. He was forced to crawl, dragging the injured behind him for most of the 300 yards separating the exposed area from a place of comparative safety.”

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

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