New documentary tells story of Fayetteville Vietnam veteran

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — “You don’t really know fear until you’re in a fight.”

June 29, 1966. It happened in the jungles of Vietnam.

“You get in a fight everything changes.”

It’s a part of American history, told by the history makers.

“I remember I gave the order everybody move to the sound of the guns,” said Army Lt. Col. Jack Kelley. 

“Of the 140 of us in the company, one out of every three will be killed or wounded on that day,” Kelley said. 

Kelley told CBS 17 how his platoon was suddenly attacked by enemy forces. They were out-numbered nearly 10 to 1. 

“As we walked there were bodies everywhere,” Kelley said. “They had taken bodies and piled them on top of each other for protection.”

Supplies ran out fast. 

“He said ‘captain we need more bandages right now, we’ve been taking bandages off the dead to put on the living because we are out of that,’” Kelley said. “We need ammunition we need bandages, so it was a tough day.”

During the fight, Kelley recalls stumbling upon his battle buddle, Sgt. Charlie Morris.

“He had over 33 wounds in his body and I thought he was dead, and the only thing he could say is ‘Sir don’t leave anybody behind.’”

The band of brothers was together again as Sgt. Morris received the Medal of Honor for his actions.

“We were truly brothers,” Kelley said. 

The new documentary telling their story, My Father’s Brothers, has already won several awards including at the Indigo Moon film festival in Fayetteville.

Kelley’s son, Shawn Kelley, made the film after interviewing his father and several men he served with. 

“They’re proud of him for re-telling their story, and I’m proud of him for telling the story because he’s my son,” Kelley said. “It’s a story I feel people oughta know about.” 

Kelley wrote a book about that day, called “Bonded in Battle.” 

It’s available on Amazon and at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville. 

Kelley has a paver leading up to the museum with a few of his awards etched in stone, including the Silver Star, seven Bronze Stars, and the Purple Heart. 

“I feel that I was blessed to be among a good number of heroes.”

The brothers get together every year for the 173rd Airborne reunion.

Click here for more information about the documentary.

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