Born at Brooklyn, New York, September 9, 1923, he earned the Medal of Honor during World War II while serving as Corporal, Medical Detachment, 48th Armored Infantry, 7th Armored Division, at Alemert, Germany, on April 4, 1945. The Medal was actually issued to him on November 1, 1945.
He died on October 2, 1988 and was buried in Section 7-A, Grave 125, of Arlington National Cemetery.
KELLY, THOMAS J.
Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Medical Detachment, 48th Armored Infantry Battalion, 7th Armored Division. Place and date: Alemert, Germany, 5 April 1945. Entered service at: Brooklyn, New York. Birth: Brooklyn, New York. G.O. No.: 97, 1 November 1945.
He was an aid man with the 1st Platoon of Company C during an attack on the town of Alemert, Germany. The platoon, committed in a flanking maneuver, had advanced down a small, open valley overlooked by wooded slopes hiding enemy machineguns and tanks, when the attack was stopped by urderous fire that inflicted heavy casualties in the American ranks.
Ordered to withdraw, Corporal 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. Two other volunteers who attempted to negotiate the hazardous route with him were mortally wounded, but he kept on with his herculean task after dressing their wounds and carrying them to friendly hands.
In all, he made 10 separate trips through the brutal fire, each time bringing out a man from the death trap. Seven more casualties who were able to crawl by themselves he guided and encouraged in escaping from the hail of fire. After he had completed his heroic, self-imposed task and was near collapse from fatigue, he refused to leave his platoon until the attack had been resumed and the objective taken. Corporal Kelly's gallantry and intrepidity in the face of seemingly certain death saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers and was an example of bravery under fire.
KELLY, THOMAS J
SGT US ARMY
WORLD WAR II
DATE OF BIRTH: 09/09/1923
DATE OF DEATH: 10/02/1988
BURIED AT: SECTION 7A SITE 125
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard