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First Name: Jack

Last Name: Kelso

Birthplace: Madera, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: William

Date of Birth: 23 January 1934

Date of Death: 02 October 1952

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served: 1951-1952
Jack William Kelso

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Jack William Kelso
Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
Korean War

Jack William Kelso was born on 23 January 1934 in Madera, CA, and attended grade and high school in Caruthers, CA. He worked on his father's farm until he enlisted in the Marine Corps on 15 May 1951, at age 17.

Kelso completed his recruit training in San Diego, CA, in July 1951 and that September was ordered from San Diego to Camp Pendleton, CA. In January 1952, he left for Hawaii, where he served until April 1952, when he embarked for Korea with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, First Marine Division as a rifleman.

For his actions on 13-15 August 1952, he earned the Silver Star Medal for gallantry. Kelso made some 20 trips through enemy mortar and artillery fire to carry ammunition from his company to another unit defending an important hill. Although the heat and enemy fire forced most of the men to be relieved after three trips, he continued to carry up ammunition and return with casualties until he collapsed and had to be evacuated.

On the night of 2 October 1952, Kelso's heroic actions resulted in his being posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to


for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Rifleman of Company I, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 2 October 1952. When both the platoon commander and the platoon sergeant became casualties during the defense of a vital outpost against a numerically superior enemy force attacking at night under cover of intense mall-arms, grenade and mortar fire, Private Kelso bravely exposed himself to the hail of enemy fire in a determined effort to reorganize the unit and to repel the onrushing attackers. Forced to seek cover, along with four other Marines, in a near-by bunker which immediately came under attack, he unhesitatingly picked up an enemy grenade which landed in the shelter, rushed out into the open and hurled it back at the enemy. Although painfully wounded when the grenade exploded as it left his hand, and again forced to seek the protection of the bunker when the hostile fire became more intensified, Private Kelso refused to remain in his position of comparative safety and moved out into the fire-swept area to return the enemy fire, thereby permitting the pinned-down Marines in the bunker to escape. Mortally wounded while providing covering fire for his comrades, Private Kelso, by his valiant fighting spirit, aggressive determination and self-sacrificing efforts in behalf of others, served to inspire all who observed him. His heroic actions sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.


Other Medals

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Kelso was awarded the following:

Silver Star Medal
Purple Heart
Korean Service Medal with 2 Bronze Stars
United Nations Service Medal

Death and Burial

Private First Class Jack William Kelso was killed in action on 2 October 1952. He is buried at Washington Colony Cemetery in Fresno, CA.

Honoree ID: 1184   Created by: MHOH




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