Joe Franklin Kelley

United States Navy
09 September 1947 - 28 January 1967
Applegate, California
Panel 14E Line 092

Fleet Marine Force Corpsman

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Joe F Kelley

The database page for Joe Franklin Kelley

27 May 2003

To my brothers in arms, and especially my friends HN Joe F. Kelley, HM3 William Broad , and Cpl Bobbie Ratliff . I think of you all even though it has been 38 years. I remember seeing Joe and Bill in body bags on that fateful day on Operation DeSoto, my heart went numb and has been so since that day. Only the death of Mills Miller created a greater void in my life. I was in the Philippines when I read of the death of Bobbie, and again I wondered why I made it out alive. I wish you all were here with me, to laugh and retell the stories of by-gone days. I will join you someday, keep a rubber lady on a cot for me...

Doc Riddle

21 Jan 2004

Almost another year and I am still here and you are there. I look forward to the day when we will be taking care of Marines together again ... Doc Riddle

17 Mar 2006

Joe, I miss you every day. I will see you soon. I met with your nephew Kevin a couple of years ago, and what a fine young man he is. We had a couple of beers and some grub in Meridian. Until we meet again.... Doc

"Doc" Riddle

28 Dec 2007

Joe, I have finally located your final resting place, thanks to Vic and to your nephew Kevin. I will be there at the end of January to say good bye. Keep a close eye on my brothers who are there with you, I will join you someday ... Doc

From a comrade in arms and brother,
Alan Riddle

24 Jan 2008

Joe, I will visit your grave on the anniversary of that day in Tan Tu.

I will visit the baseball field that I was told is named after you, and I will take pictures to take back to the reunion of Brothers. What more can I say, take care of the Marines guarding the gates of Heaven... Doc Riddle

From a comrade in arms,
Alan Riddle

27 Feb 2005

My sincere thanks to Doc Riddle for his service and contributions
to this memorial.

From Joe's nephew,
Kevin Kelley
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

Notes from The Virtual Wall

Hospital Corpsman Joe Kelley was one of six men from Mike 3/7 Marines who died on 28 Jan 1967 in a fight at the hamlet of Tan Tu:
  • SSgt Fred L. Pedersen, Azusa, CA
  • Sgt Russell M. Wagner, Vallejo, CA
  • HM3 William R. Broad, Tulsa, OK (Silver Star)
  • Cpl Jackya K. Grant, Chicago, IL
  • Cpl Pedro A. Swenson, Willow Grove, PA
  • HN Joe F. Kelley, Applegate, CA
The two Corpsmen, HM3 Broad and HN Kelley, were formally assigned to H&S Company, 3/7, but were in the field with Mike Company. Petty Officer Broad received the Silver Star, America's third highest award for valor in combat, for the actions which led to his death.

Fleet Marine Force Corpsman

"You guys are the Marine's doctors -
There's none better in the business than a Navy Corpsman ..."
-- Lieutenant General "Chesty" Puller --

Visit John Dennison's
Medics on the Wall
memorial which honors the
Army Medics and Navy Corpsmen who died in Vietnam.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a fellow Corpsman,
"Doc" Riddle

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CA State Index . Panel 14E

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 02 Jun 2003
Last updated 02/02/2008