For conspicuous gallantry


Congressional Medal of Honor

Is Awarded to

Thomas G. Kelley


Rank: Lieutenant Commander

Organization: U.S. Navy, River Assault Division 152

Place: Ong Muong Canal, Kien Hoa province, Republic of Vietnam

Date: 15 June 1969

Entered service at: Boston, Massachusetts

Born: 13 May 1939, Boston, Massachusetts



For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and 

beyond the call of duty in the afternoon while serving as commander of 

River Assault Division 152 during combat operations against enemy aggressor

forces.  Lieutenant Commander (then Lt.) Kelley was in charge of a column of 

8 river assault craft which were extracting 1 company of U.S. Army infantry

troops on the east bank of the Ong Muong Canal in Kien Hoa province, when 1 

of the armored troop carriers reported a mechanical failure of a loading 

ramp.  At approximately the same time, Viet Cong forces opened fire from the

opposite bank of the canal.  After issuing orders for the crippled troop 

carrier to raise its ramp manually, and for the remaining boats to form a

protective cordon around the disabled craft, Lieutenant Commander Kelley

realizing the extreme danger to his column and its inability to clear the 

ambush site until the crippled unit was repaired,  boldly maneuvered the 

monitor in which he was embarked to the exposed side of the protective cordon 

in direct line with the enemy's fire, and ordered the monitor to commence 

firing. Suddenly, an enemy rocket scored a direct hit on the coxswain's flat, 

the shell penetrating the thick armor plate, and the explosion spraying 

shrapnel in all directions.  Sustaining serious head wounds from the blast, 

which hurled him to the deck of the monitor,  Lieutenant Commander Kelley

disregarded his severe injuries and attempted to continue directing the other

boats.  Although unable to move from the deck or to speak clearly into the 

radio, he succeeded in relaying his commands through 1 of his men until the 

enemy attack was silenced and the boats were able to move to an area of 

safety.  Lieutenant Commander Kelley's brilliant leadership, bold initiative, 

and resolute determination served to inspire his men and provide the impetus

needed to carry out the mission after he was medically evacuated by 

helicopter.  His extraordinary courage under fire, and his selfless devotion 

to duty sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.