During 2019, Freedoms Foundation and the Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove are paying tribute to the living recipients of the Medal of Honor on the anniversary of the actions for which they earned the nation’s highest award for valor. The series continues with a look at March 11, 1970, when then Staff Sgt. Allan J. Kellogg Jr. saved his fellow Marines by falling on a grenade during an attack by Viet Cong forces in Quang Nam Province in South Vietnam.
Allan J. Kellogg Jr.’s Medal of Honor citation reads:
“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a platoon sergeant with Company G, in connection with combat operations against the enemy on the night of 11 March 1970.
“Under the leadership of G/Sgt. Kellogg, a small unit from Company G was evacuating a fallen comrade when the unit came under a heavy volume of small arms and automatic weapons fire from a numerically superior enemy force occupying well-concealed emplacements in the surrounding jungle.
“During the ensuing fierce engagement, an enemy soldier managed to maneuver through the dense foliage to a position near the marines, and hurled a hand grenade into their midst which glanced off the chest of G/Sgt. Kellogg. Quick to act, he forced the grenade into the mud in which he was standing, threw himself over the lethal weapon and absorbed the full effects of its detonation with his body thereby preventing serious injury or possible death to several of his fellow marines.
“Although suffering multiple injuries to his chest and his right shoulder and arm, G/Sgt. Kellogg resolutely continued to direct the efforts of his men until all were able to maneuver to the relative safety of the company perimeter.
“By his heroic and decisive action in risking his life to save the lives of his comrades, G/Sgt. Kellogg reflected the highest credit upon himself and upheld the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.”
In Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty, Peter Collier writes, “Bleeding heavily from his chest and arms, Kellogg nonetheless stood up and reassumed command, leading his men forward. Finally he and his squad made contact with the Marine company they had been waiting for. He was evacuated with his wounded. While he was hospitalized in Japan, an officer informed him that he was to receive the Navy Cross. Kellogg wisecracked, “Just get me out of here, and we’ll call it even.”
Kellogg retired from the Marines in 1990 as a sergeant major, and later worked for the Veterans Administration in Honolulu.
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