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|USNS Sgt. Jonah E. Kelley (T-APC-116)
Staff Sgt. Jonah E. Kelley, a West Virginian serving with Company E, 311th Infantry, 78th Infantry Division, was killed in action as his squad spearheaded furious house to house fighting in Kesternich, Germany, on 31 January 1945. On the 30th, he had led his squad through intense mortar and small arms fire in repeated assaults against barricaded German positions. Twice wounded--once in the back and once in the left hand-he had refused all but initial first aid; continued to lead his men forward; and, after clearing the way to one house by using hand grenades-pulling the pin with his teeth and tossing the explosive with his good arm-he had forced snipers to vacate a second house with his impaired, but still accurate, rifle fire. That night, he had sought medical attention; but, with dawn on the 31st, he had rejoined his squad as it continued its advance through the town. Twice that morning, he had located and silenced enemy positions. In dealing with the second, a machine gun in a heavily protected house, he ordered his squad to remain low; then dashed into the open and attacked the position. Hit several times, he fell to his knees 25 yards short of his objective; but, summoning extra strength, he emptied his rifle into the enemy position and silenced it before he died. For his courage, leadership, and sacrifice, Sgt. Kelley was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
|60k||USNS Sgt Jonah E. Kelley (T-APC-116) underway in New York harbor in 1960||© Richard Leonhardt|
|56k||USNS Sgt Jonah E. Kelley (T-APC-116) underway, date and location unknown.||Bill Valashnas,
Radio Officer, 6 June to 15 July 1954
|272k||USNS Sgt Jonah E. Kelley (T-APC-116) anchored off Easter Island in December 1966.
Photo courtesy Dick Wilhelm.
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