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First Name: Russell

Last Name: McKelvey

Birthplace: USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)



Home of Record: Houston, TX
Middle Name: M.



Date of Birth:



Rank: Second Lieutenant

Years Served:
Russell M. McKelvey

   
Engagements:
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)

Biography:

Russell M. McKelvey
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army

On 17 September 1944, then-First Sergeant Russell M. McKelvey was serving with Company F, 363rd Infantry Regiment, 91st Infantry Division, Fifth U.S. Army.

On that day, 1SG McKelvey’s unit was in action against German forces near Scarperia, Italy, during the Gothic Line Offensive. Fully aware of the personal danger involved, 1SG McKelvey volunteered to lead an assault platoon up a ridge that was heavily fortified by at least 5 pillboxes dug in behind barbed wire entanglements and all types of mines. During the assault, 1SG McKelvey's platoon received heavy concentrations of machine gun fire from the German pillboxes. On two different occasions when the platoon was halted, 1SG McKelvey exposed himself to machine gun and sniper fire to reorganize and encourage his men. Realizing the severity of the situation, 1SG McKelvey secured several "Molotov Cocktails" and proceeded alone through a hail of enemy machine gun fire toward a German strongpoint. Although a sniper's bullet pierced his helmet while he was disarming a German "S" mine, unperturbed, 1SG McKelvey proceeded to a point within 10 yards of his objective and threw his "Molotov Cocktails" into a small opening of the pillbox. Dashing into the emplacement, 1SG McKelvey forced 5 Germans out of a sub-cellar and captured them and their weapons. Then, leading his platoon in a flanking attack, 1SG McKelvey knocked out the remaining enemy strongpoints. With most of the German resistance eliminated, Company F was able to take the objective and the entire battalion was able to advance. 1SG McKelvey’s outstanding leadership, courageous actions and extraordinary heroism that day earned him the U.S. Army's second highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross.

McKelvey received a battlefield commission to the rank of Second Lieutenant of Infantry.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Distinguished Service Cross
Purple Heart
Army Good Conduct Medal
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Stars
World War II Victory Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge

Distinguished Service Cross Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Second Lieutenant (Infantry), [then First Sergeant] Russell M. McKelvey (ASN: 0-1692958), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with Company F, 363d Infantry Regiment, 91st Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 17 September 1944, near Scarperia, Italy. Second Lieutenant McKelvey, fully aware of the personal danger involved, volunteered to lead an assault platoon up a ridge which was heavily fortified by at least five pillboxes strongly dug in behind barbed wire entanglements and all types of mines. During the assault, Second Lieutenant McKelvey's platoon received heavy concentrations of machine gun fire from the enemy pillboxes. On two different occasions when the platoon was halted, Second Lieutenant McKelvey exposed himself to murderous machine gun and sniper fire to reorganize and encourage his men. Realizing the severity of the situation, he secured several "Molotov Cocktails" and proceeded alone through a hail of enemy machine gun fire toward an enemy strongpoint. A sniper's bullet pierced his helmet while he was disarming a German "S" mine. Unperturbed, Second Lieutenant McKelvey proceeded to a point within ten yards of his objective and threw his "Molotov Cocktails" into the embrasure of the pillbox. Dashing into the emplacement he forced five Germans out of a sub-cellar and captured them and their weapons. Then, leading his platoon in a flanking attack, Second Lieutenant McKelvey knocked out the remaining enemy strongpoints. With most of the enemy resistance eliminated, his company was able to take the objective and the entire battalion was able to advance. Second Lieutenant McKelvey's outstanding leadership and coolness under fire are exemplary of the highest traditions of the Army of the United States.

Headquarters, Fifth U.S. Army, General Orders No. 4 (January 6, 1945)



Honoree ID: 314947   Created by: MHOH

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