CHARLES LIVINGSTON KELLY
Killed In Action
United States Army Major Charles Livingston Kelly from Warm Springs is inducted into the 2020 Class of the Georgia Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame for his many courageous acts of heroism in two wars. Charles Kelly joined the Army at the age of 15 and fought as an Infantryman in Europe during World War II. Afterwards, he earned his college degree, his commission and flight wings. In January 1964, he was assigned to Vietnam as the Commander of the 57th Medical Detachment. For the unit’s radio call sign, Major Kelly chose “Dust Off” which would soon be adopted by all helicopter medical evacuation units in Vietnam. In April, June and July of 1964, Major Kelly was awarded five valor awards for flying in extremely hazardous conditions under hostile fire to rescue the wounded. On 1 July as he was approaching the landing zone during an evacuation mission, his aircraft came under an intense barrage of enemy ground fire. The ground commander radioed him to abort the mission, but Kelly’s calm reply was, “When I have your wounded”. These five selfless words would become the iconic vow for all of the following generations of Dust Off Crews. Amid these flying rounds and while his aircraft was hovering, this legendary Dust Off Pilot was struck in the heart and slumped at the controls, mortally wounded. Major Charles Kelly’s combat awards are: Combat Infantryman Badge, two Purple Hearts, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, Silver Star, and our nation’s second highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross.
THE INVITATION TO THE CEREMONY FOLLOWS:
You are cordially invited to the combined GMVHOF Induction & Unveiling Ceremony for the Class of 2020 to be held on Saturday, 3 April beginning at 2 PM in the Mark Burkhalter Amphitheater in Newtown Park, Johns Creek, Georgia (3125 Old Alabama Road, Johns Creek, GA 30022).
This event is being co-sponsored and co-hosted by the City of Johns Creek, Johns Creek Veterans Association and GMVHOF. Appropriate COVID precautions will be observed. Please plan on arriving in ample time to park and proceed to the amphitheater. Handicapped parking will be designated next to the amphitheater.
Because of COVID-19, both the planned Induction Ceremony & Banquet in Columbus in November 2020 and the Unveiling Ceremony in the State Capital this winter were delayed with no known reasonable future make-up dates in sight. Many substitute venues were researched to no avail. However, due to the gracious and supportive leadership of the City of Johns Creek, the GMVHOF was granted permission for the use of the aforementioned location.
If You plan on attending, please call or email the GMVHOF Event Attendee Coordinator, Ms. Debbie Freeman at 706-575-9173 or AngelBoy1989@Protonmail.com. Because Debbie is volunteering her time and because she also works seven days a week, please call her from 5-10 PM, Monday – Friday or 7-9 PM, Saturday & Sunday. In addition, please feel free to call or email me. My contact data is below.
Research reveals that a hall of fame of this kind is a rarity among the other states and territories and as such, we as Georgians can be rightfully proud of its existence while humbled by the selfless sacrifices of those that have been chosen to be inducted into it. Since 2013 and with the addition of the 16 Inductees for 2020, a total of 131 Veterans will have had their framed citations and photos installed in the Floyd Veterans Building across the street from the Georgia Capital.
Also located in Newtown Park is the awe inspiring half-sized replica of the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C. called, “The Wall That Heals”. In addition, there are ten impressive monuments dedicated to and honoring those that fought in past conflicts plus monuments dedicated to our POWs and Purple Heart recipients. All of these are well worth Your time either before or after the GMVHOF Ceremony.
We are looking forward to seeing You on Saturday, 3 April for this unforgettable and humbling event.
– This solemn ceremony is open to the public.
– The Mark Burkhalter Amphitheater will be open beginning at 12 PM. Newtown Park hours are 8 AM to 9 PM. – Please plan on arriving in ample time to park, proceed to the amphitheater and be seated NLT 1:45 PM.
– Handicapped parking will be designated next to and around the amphitheater.
– For this ceremony, The City of Johns Creek has not scheduled any other activities in Newtown Park on 3 April in order to provide maximum parking availability.
– Hand Sanitizer, Masks and Bottled Water will be available upon entry into the amphitheater.
– COVID-19 physical distance seating precautions will be observed.
– Part of the amphitheater is under roof with open sides and will have only approximately 200 reserved seats available due to COVID-19 physical distance seating requirements. Most of these seats will be set aside for the Inductees, their family members and guests.
– Additional amphitheater seating is outside the roofed area in terraced stadium style seats with no backs.
– For comfort reasons, it is recommended that those that will be seated outside bring lawn or folding chairs.
– The weather forecast for 3 April indicates mid-60s with scattered clouds and no rain.
– The amphitheater has public restrooms.