Francis Kelly (Medal of Honor)
Watertender Francis Kelly
July 5, 1860|
|Died||May 19, 1938
|Buried at||Sandymount Cemetery, Glasgow, Scotland|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Rank||Chief Machinist's Mate|
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
Francis Kelly (July 5, 1860 – May 19, 1938) was a United States Navy sailor and a recipient of America's highest military decoration — the Medal of Honor — for his actions in the Spanish-American War.
Francis Kelly enlisted in the US Navy from his birth state, Massachusetts, and served as a watertender in the collier USS Merrimac during the Spanish-American War. Kelly was one of eight volunteer crew members when Rear Admiral William T. Sampson ordered Merrimac sunk to block the entrance of Santiago Harbor, Cuba. On the night of 2-June 3, 1898, during the attempt to execute this mission, Merrimac's steering gear was disabled by enemy gunfire, and she sank without obstructing navigation. Her crewmen were rescued by the Spanish and made prisoners-of-war. After the Battle of Santiago de Cuba destroyed the Spanish fleet a month later, Kelly and his shipmates were released. For his actions during this operation, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Medal of Honor citation
Kelly's official Medal of Honor citation reads as follows:
In connection with the sinking of the U.S.S. Merrimac at the entrance to the harbor of Santiago de Cuba, June 2, 1898. Despite heavy fire from the Spanish batteries, KELLY displayed extraordinary heroism throughout this operation.
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Naval History & Heritage Command.