Military Salute: Major Charles Kelly - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Military Salute: Major Charles Kelly

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A Screven County man left home to serve in Vietnam and gave his life to save countless others.

Vietnam veterans joined his family and the Sylvania community on Saturday night to renew their commitment that his name lives for generations to come.

The high school stadium in Sylvania has carried the name of Maj. Charles Kelly since his death in Vietnam 50 years ago. But friends, relatives and scores of Vietnam veterans gathered to dedicate a new marker and tell the story of a legendary medical chopper pilot.

"He is the founder of our profession," said Maj. Jason Jones. "He's the original Dust Off commander for the 57th Medical company."

Kelly flew missions into combat zones to get soldiers to medical treatment before being shot down. The honors in his hometown mean plenty to his family.

"I'm very proud of my dad," said Charles Kelly, Jr. "I didn't know him as an adult, but I've read everything he's ever written. I've met everybody I could find that ever knew him."

Maj. Kelly's last known words, "When I have your wounded," serve as a motto for pilots today.

"He's also a hero because he established the profession," Jones said. "He wrote the standards that we follow today."

This Military Salute honors Major Charles Kelly, and American hero then and today.

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