C BTY, 6TH BN, 14TH ARTY RGT, 1 FIELD FORCE
From High Point, NC
10 June 1947 - 23 April 1970
Thirty-four years ago today, on the day after Thanksgiving, Tom Kelly left home for Vietnam. I did not meet him until almost five months later on a battlefield in Vietnam near Dak Seang. I was an infantry lieutenant, and he was an artillery forward observer. We were friends for the six longest days of our lives. At the end, he died and I lived.
Tom's life represents the real cost of war. He was not a supporter of the war, nor was he someone who was in Vietnam because he had no choice. He was there because he felt it was his duty to be there. After all these years I have finally found something that explains why he is a true hero. John Stuart Mill wrote
"War is an ugly thing, but it is not the ugliest of things. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
Tom Kelly was a "better man," a man of honor, loyalty, and good humor. He also was a friend the likes of which I never expect to see again.
The database page for George Thomas Kelly
29 Nov 2003
Last updated 12/03/2003