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In Recognition Of Carl Kelly

Rep. Michael Allen Collins

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Mr. Speaker, a man from Butts County, Georgia, Carl Kelly of Pepperton Cottonmill Village, has recently been reintroduced to his community and to new generations as a true hero.

Just prior to World War Two, First Sergeant Kelly was a member of the Jackson Rifles of the Jackson National Guard. 1st Sgt. Kelly was sent to Europe with very little training and very little equipment. While he was there he was one of the thousands of Americans who went ashore on Utah Beach during the Normandy Invasion. He was later wounded in St. Lo, France and awarded his first Purple Heart and the first of his three Bronze Stars for gallantry.

Following the war, Kelly remained in the military and was deployed very shortly thereafter to Korea, where he was given a field promotion to 2nd Lieutenant. While in Korea, Lt. Kelly was wounded a second time. Once he returned to action, he repeatedly risked his own life to cover the retreat of a pinned down artillery unit, ultimately receiving a mortal wound.

Lt. Carl Kelly is, from all available records, the most highly decorated veteran of Butts County. While bravely serving his nation he was awarded three Purple Hearts, three Bronze Stars, the Silver Star, and dozens of other honors.

What has brought Lt. Kelly's actions to the attention of the public is a book chronicling the life of an infantryman in World War Two and Korea. In his recently published book, Warrior By Choice in World War Two, By Chance in Korea, author Jack M. Anderson tells Kelly's story in an excerpt describing the first man he ever saw die.

As we prepare to send our young men and women into combat, I think that it is fitting that we remember the sacrifice of men like Carl Kelly, and finally give him the honor that has been so long overdue.

Recently my hometown newspaper, the Jackson Argue-Progress, published an article about Kelly's life of commitment, and I would like that article and these comments to be submitted together for the Record. In this way, I wish to honor the memory of a hometown hero, a father, a husband, and an example of valor to all Americans, on behalf of a grateful nation.

In the recently published Warrior By Choice in World War II, By Chance Korea, author Jack M. Anderson tells of his 24- plus years of service as a United States Infantryman. In his book Anderson includes an excerpt of a Butts County warrior, Carl Kelly. Anderson describes Kelley as follows: ``From Butts, Georgia 1st Sgt. Carl Kelly, Hq Co, 1st Bn, 38th Inf was wounded the same time I was. He would return to duty and be killed the day before I was captured. He was the first man I would watch die. We started to move him to the Bn Aid Station, but he said not to, but wanted us to get a hometown friend of his who was the Bn S4 Sergeant. ``Carl told Stewart (I hope that name is right) that things were going slowly dim and he wanted Stewart to be sure to tell his wife and kids that he loved them and would meet them in heaven. He talked for a few minutes more, then just closed his eyes and was dead. I had seen others killed and would see more, but that was the first time I watched a man die.'' Anderson and Kelly both had very similar military careers up to the death of Kelly. Both were in the National Guard when World War II started and both were sent into action with little training and even less to work with; not only guns and ammunition, but food and lodging. Kelly went to the European Theater and Anderson to the Pacific. Both were wounded and decorated several times. Anderson details how the US troops improved and how they wound up with so much more than the enemy. After World War II, both joined the regular Army, so when the Korean Conflict started, they were sent into battle immediately. Again Anderson tells how the U.S. was very short on supplies and had very few men with any training and experience. At the beginning, he describes the hardships experienced by the troops as they fought the larger, better trained enemy troops. Both men were prisoners and escaped. Again, the U.S. wound up with superior troops and equipment. After reading the book, Cary Kelly, son of Lt. Carl Kelly, wrote the following letter: ``To Whom It May Concern: The following is a brief military history of Lt. Carl Kelly from Jackson, Georgia. ``Carl Kelly began his military career by joining the Jackson National Guard, then called the Jackson Rifles, while still in his teens. When WWII started, the Jackson National Guard was called upon to train for the war in Europe. Carl Kelly was made 1st Sergeant before leaving for Ireland to wait for the invasion of Normandy. ``After landing on Utah Beach the 8th Army division fought their way inland to France. There in St.-LoFrance, then 1st Sergeant Kelly was wounded in action and was awarded his first of two bronze stars for gallantry. He also received his first Purple heart for being wounded in action. As soon as he was able he rejoined his outfit and continued fighting into Germany until the Germans surrendered. ``By this time Sgt. Kelly had made the decision to enlist in the military for a career and was a full time military personnel. ``When the Korean Conflict began Sgt. Kelly was immediately sent to Korea. (How President Harry Truman could call it a conflict when over 50,000 American soldiers were killed is beyond me). It was a terrible war, often fought in hand-to- hand combat in temperatures of 20 degrees below zero, fighting against not only North Koreans but Chinese as well. ``After distinguishing himself on the battlefield as being a leader of men, Sgt. Kelly was awarded a battlefield commission to 2nd Lieutenant. Soon after he was again wounded in action. ``After recuperating from wounds, Lt. Kelly returned to active duty and soon after was involved in a battle involving an artillery unit that had been ambushed and was trying to retreat. According to records, intense enemy fire was preventing the withdrawal of the field artillery battalion. ``Lt Kelly reconnoitered the enemy positions and organized the artillerymen into fighting groups. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Lt. Kelly repeated aggressive actions, wiping out enemy forces and weapons. Besides instilling confidence in the artillerymen, his conspicuous actions served to center the fire of the enemy on himself. Although enemy fire became more intense and deadly, Lt. Kelly continued to expose himself in leading the assaults. Finally he was struck by enemy fire and fell mortally wounded. ``Before he died he told a friend to tell his wife and children that he loved them very much and would see them in heaven someday. He received the Silver Star Award posthumously. ``Lt Kelly was in service for eleven years. He received three Purple Heart Medals, three Bronze Star Medals and the Silver Star medal, as well as the many service medals awarded by the United States Army, during the period of time served. ``I feel my father is a forgotten Hero from Butts County. From all the records I can find, he was the most decorated soldier from Butts County. He was also the only military man and officer to serve in both World War II and the Korean Conflict who was killed in action. He received a battlefield commission from 1st Sgt. to 2nd Lieutenant. Our family also received a letter of condolence from General Douglas MacArthur (which we still have). ``To me this is not a bad resume for a young man from Pepperton Cottonmill Village who started out in the Jackson National Guard and died a hero at the ripe old age of 32. ``I believe that every young man and woman form Butts County who gave their life in defense of their country are heroes and should be recognized. In a time when roads, highways and buildings, are named after people at the drop of a hat, none of these young heroes even have a small plaque on a park bench in Butts County. Even on Veterans Day and/or Memorial Day their names are only brought up by family members. I feel that other counties in Georgia are way ahead of Butts County in this matter. ``Very Sincerely, Cary V. Kelly'' Carl Kelly is not the only hero in the family. His wife, Edna is a hero to many of her friends. At the time Carl was killed she had three young sons, Cary, Tim and Pat. All three served in the military. Tim was killed in a motorcycle accident in California after being discharged and on the way home. Pat was a disabled Vietnam Combat Veteran and was killed a couple of years ago in a truck accident. A few years after Carl's death, Edna married Ed Daniel, another Veteran and they had two sons, Chip and Joe. Both sons are now veterans, too. Ed passed away a few years ago after an extended illness. When asked how she had handled so much tragedy and could still have a smile and her special laugh, she pointed upward, and said she had a lot of help from above.