A letter from Lt. Col. James Roosevelt, who had commanded the battalion of Marine Raiders to which Pvt. Franklin T. Kelley belonged, gave Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Kelley of 316 N. Evaline St. their first details of their son’s death.
The 22-year-old Marine was killed on July [1, 1943] in the Pacific area, after being overseas four months.
In a letter to the Kelleys, Col. Roosevelt said that Pvt. Kelley has been buried on New Georgia Island, and enclosed photographs of the battalion’s services, taken during a lull in battle.
“It was my privilege to be his commanding officer until just a few weeks before he so gallantly finished his end of the job,” Lt. Col. Roosevelt wrote. “I knew him personally and as a friend…and hope you will accept this expression of sympathy.”
He promised to write further if a description of the action in which Pvt. Kelley died could be obtained.
Pvt. Kelley, a former employee of the American Bridge Co., enlisted Jan. 2, 1942, and trained under Col. Roosevelt at Camp Pendleton, Cal. He has been awarded the Purple Heart and Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal.
A brother, Pvt. Jack Kelley, is with the Signal Corps at Camp Crowder, Mo.