James Daniel Kelley

Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
13 November 1948 - 19 September 1968
Greeneville, Tennessee
Panel 43W Line 038


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for James Daniel Kelley

23 May 2005

PFC James Daniel Kelley and I were very good friends in Vietnam. We were Marines in Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines. In June 1968, I met PFC Kelley in Okinawa, Japan and we both joined up with Fox Company in the Philippines on 21 June 1968. We completed several weeks of Jungle Warfare training and then we boarded the USS OGDEN and headed for SE Asia via the South China Sea. We had no idea that we were sailing straight into hell.

PFC Kelley was born in Greeneville, Tennessee, on November 13, 1948, and was 19 years and 6 months old when he was killed in action. PFC Kelley had been in Vietnam for three months and had already participated in 3 or 4 major combat operations.

PFC Kelley, who was an infantry soldier, showed extraordinary heroism on September 19, 1968, during Operation Mameluke Thrust, also known as Operation Dodge City. Fox Company was conducting a reconnaissance in force in Quang Nam Province when we encountered a large enemy force employing heavy automatic weapons and accurate sniper fire which pinned down elements of Fox Company and caused numberous casualties and many more Marines were wounded in action.

Disregarding his own safety, he fearlessly exposed himself to the intense hostile fire where he succumbed to his bullet wounds. His bold initiative and heroic efforts inspired all who observed him and contributed immeasurably to the accomplishment of Fox Company's mission.

By his courage, sincere concern for the welfare of his fellow Marines and unwavering devotion to duty, PFC Kelley upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

The following 14 Marines died that day with PFC Kelley: Cpl Thomas J. Cavanaugh; Sgt Raymond T. Conway; PFC Michael A. Figueroa; LCpl Mark A. Knollmeyer; LCpl John L. Krol; PFC Peter D. Matarazzo; PFC Terrence Moran; PFC Gary E. Noles; Pvt Francis S. Rhoades; LCpl Roy W. Rich; Cpl Pedro S. Rodriquez; Cpl Edgar A. Smith; PFC Mark L. Triplett; and LCpl Philip J. Wajda.

Jim, you will never be forgotten. Even as the years pass, Vietnam keeps coming back to us. You gave the supreme sacrifice for your country. You served the Corps honorably and died gallantly in battle. PFC Kelley, always a Marine, forever a Hero. Love and miss you my dear friend. God Bless and Semper Fi

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 19 Sep 1968 sixteen men from 2/7 Marines were killed in action north of the La Tho River in what was known as the "Dodge City" sector north of the Go Noi Island area:
  • E Co, 2nd Bn, 7th Marines, 1st Mardiv, 3rd MAF
    • Cpl Joseph P. Lopez, Denver, CO (Silver Star)

  • F Co, 2nd Bn, 7th Marines, 1st Mardiv, 3rd MAF
  • H&S Co, 2nd Bn, 7th Marines, 1st Mardiv, 3rd MAF
    • Sgt Raymond T. Conway, Miami, FL

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend in Vietnam,
M. A. Lau
E-Mail may be forwarded via the
23 May 2005

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 05/23/2005