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Orris Eugene Kelly
Major General Orris Eugene Kelly
14th Chief of Chaplains of the United States Army
|Born||July 28, 1926|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1944–1946|
|Unit||53rd Infantry Regiment|
104th Infantry Division
1st Armored Division
398th Engineer Construction Battalion
8th Cavalry Regiment
1st Infantry Division
7th Infantry Division
4th Infantry Division
|Commands held||U.S. Army Chaplain Corps|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards|| Distinguished Service Medal|
Legion of Merit
Kelly was born in 1926 in Montrose, Kansas to attorney Herman Albertis (H.A.) "Bert" Kelly, a member of the Dudley-Winthrop Family of Massachusetts fame, and Theodora Viola Pacaková a Czech immigrant from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
He attended elementary and high school in Montrose.
World War II
In January 1944, he entered the Army Specialized Training Program to attend the University of Kansas where he hoped to become a civil engineer. In August 1944, he was sent to basic training at Camp Fannin, Texas, and then to Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was commissioned a second lieutenant, Infantry, Class 452, on May 29, 1945.
He served at Camp Shelby, Mississippi; Fort Hood, Texas; Camp Callan, California; Camp San Luis Obispo, California; and in the Army of Occupation in Germany. His experiences in the ruins of Dresden as an officer in the military police made him change his goal of becoming an engineer into becoming a chaplain. He left the service in 1946 as a first lieutenant to resume college.
Reverend Kelly completed his AB degree at Kansas Wesleyan University, Salina, Kansas in 1950 and graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity degree from the Garrett Theological Seminary (Northwestern University), Evanston, Illinois, in 1953. He was ordained as a Methodist clergyman in June 1953.
Second military tour
Immediately after ordination, he entered on active duty at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He served with the 398th Engineer Construction Battalion as housing area pastor during his first year. In 1954, he was assigned to the 8th Cavalry Regiment of the First Cavalry Division in Japan for three years, where he adopted several Japanese orphans along with his wife Phyllis Goodenow-Kelly. After returning to the United States, Reverend Kelly was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, from 1957 to 1961. During this period, he attended the Associate Command and General Staff College, graduating in 1959. In 1961, he was assigned to an overseas replacement battle group and transferred to the Seventh Infantry Division in Korea
From 1962 to 1966, he served on the staff of the US Army Chaplain School, Fort Hamilton, New York. During the period from 1966 to 1969, he was assigned as Director, US Forces Religious Retreat Center, Berchtesgaden, Germany. In 1969, he was transferred to Vietnam in July to serve as Division Chaplain of the Fourth Infantry Division at Pleiku and An Khe. Reverend Kelly joined the staff of the Office Chief of Chaplains in 1970, serving first as an action officer in Plans, Programs and Policies Directorate, and later as Director.
In 1972, he was selected to attend the Army War College, the highest level of military education in the Department of the Army. Concurrent with his studies at the War College, he received a Master of Science degree in Counseling from Shippensburg State College, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.
Returning to Washington in 1973, he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Chaplains as Executive Officer, a position he held until July 31, 1975.
On April 7, 1975, Reverend Kelly was nominated by President Ford for the appointment as Chief of Chaplains, Department of the Army, with promotion from lieutenant colonel to major general. The Senate confirmed the nomination on April 29, 1975, and promotion ceremonies were conducted on August 1, 1975, by General Walter T. Kerwin, Jr., Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army.
Reverend Kelly retired from the Army on July 1, 1979.
On August 1, 1979 he assumed the position of Associate General Secretary for the Division of Chaplains and Related Ministries (DCRM). This is an organization part of the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. During his association with DCRM, he became acquainted with the President of the Hospital Corporation of America, who asked him to become the Vice President of Pastoral Service with the responsibility for developing pastoral care programs in the 480 hospital HCA system. He assumed this position in 1985.
Awards and decorations
|Distinguished Service Medal|
|Legion of Merit (with two bronze oak leaf clusters)|
|Bronze Star (with two bronze oak leaf clusters)|
|Air Medal (with three bronze oak leaf clusters)|
|Army Commendation Medal (with three bronze oak leaf clusters)|
|Army Good Conduct Medal|
|Army Meritorious Unit Commendation|
|Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation|
|American Campaign Medal|
|European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal|
|World War II Victory Medal|
|Army of Occupation Medal|
|National Defense Service Medal (with one bronze service star)|
|Vietnam Service Medal (with four bronze service stars)|
|Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal|
|Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry|
|Vietnam Staff Service Medal|
|Vietnam Campaign Medal|
Gerhardt W. Hyatt
| Chief of Chaplains of the United States Army
Kermit D. Johnson