Biography: John Kelley was born in Minerva, Ohio on October 30, 1924.
Service Time: John entered the service on March 13, 1943, at Camp Perry, OH, and was placed into the 652nd Tank Destroyer Battalion. The 652nd received training at a number of locations including, Camp Polk, Louisiana, Fort Knox, Kentucky, Camp Hood, Texas and Fort Benning, Georgia. John stayed with the unit during 1943 and 1944 before volunteering for an Airborne unit. He then shipped out and served in the Philippine Islands as part of the occupation forces in Japan until 1946. He received the basic Airborne Wings, the American Theater Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Medal, the Good Conduct medal and the WWII Victory Medal.
John married the former Hattie Martha Lewis who was originally from Cleveland, OH. They had four children, John, Patricia, Jeffery and Kathleen and make their residence in Euclid, OH.
The last three photos show John while at Fort Benning. As mentioned, he volunteered for the Airborne and was trained there. The first shot shows him learning the proper method of jumping and landing. The second photo is John standing in the middle with a few of the other trainees, all with their parachutes on. The third shot is John when he graduated from Airborne school in 1945.
John worked at a factory making torpedoes for a defense contractor. He also worked some time as a firefighter. In his spare time, he enjoyed woodworking, photography, home improvements and automobiles. He was also member of the local Catholic Church.
John passed away on October 18, 1993, and was laid to rest in the All Souls Cemetery in Chardon, OH.
I want to thank John’s son, John, for supplying this information and photos. Additional shots of John can be found in the Unit Photo Gallery for the 652nd Tank Destroyer Battalion.