Ova Arthur Kelley MOH

b. 27/03/1914 Norwood, Missouri. d. 10/12/1944 Leyte, Philippines.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 08/12/1944 Leyte, Philippines.

Ova A Kelley MOH

World War II Medal of Honor Recipient. He received the award posthumously for his actions as a private with Company A, 382nd Infantry Regiment, 96th Infantry Division, US Army, on December 8, 1944, at Leyte, Philippine Islands. He joined the US Army in October 1943, and after his recruit and combat training, he was sent to the Philippines, in the Pacific Theater of Operations. On that day at Leyte, he single-handedly attacked an entrenched Japanese position and then led a charge which destroyed the remainder of the Japanese force. He was gravely wounded during the assault and died two days later at the age of 30. He was also awarded the Purple Heart.

His posthumous Medal of Honor was presented to his son, Jerry, at Norwood High School, Norwood, Missouri on February 7, 1946. The Medal was presented by General Charles L. Milliken.



For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Before dawn, near the edge of enemy-held Buri airstrip, the company was immobilized by heavy, accurate rifle and machine-gun fire from hostile troops entrenched in bomb craters and a ditch less than 100 yards distant. The company commander ordered a mortar concentration which destroyed one machine gun but failed to dislodge the main body of the enemy. At this critical moment Pvt. Kelley, on his own initiative, left his shallow foxhole with an armload of hand grenades and began a one-man assault on the foe. Throwing his missles with great accuracy, he moved forward, killing or wounding five men, and forced the remainder to flee in a disorganized route. He picked up an M1 rifle and emptied its clip at the running Japanese, killing three. Discarding this weapon, he took a carbine and killed three more of the enemy. Inspired by his example, his comrades followed him in a charge which destroyed the entire enemy force of 34 enlisted men and two officers and captured two heavy and one light machine guns. Pvt. Kelley continued to press the attack onto an airstrip, where sniper fire wounded him so grievously that he died two days later. His outstanding courage, aggressiveness, and initiative in the face of grave danger was an inspiration to his entire company and led to the success of the attack.