A Marine’s Marine – Sergeant Major Allan Jay Kellogg, Jr., U.S. Marine Corps, Vietnam War, Medal of Honor

Sergeant Major Allan J. Kellogg, Medal of Honor, Vietnam War
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Sergeant Major Allan J. Kellogg, Medal of Honor, Vietnam War

BY DUANE A. VACHON, PH.D.  Sergeant Major Allan Jay Kellogg was born on October 1st 1943.  He was raised and attended school in Bethel Connecticut.  After two years of High School he became bored and restless.  Asking his father’s permission to leave school, he was told he could but only if he joined one of the services.  On the 14th of November 1960 Kellogg joined the Marine Corps in Bridgeport Connecticut.

After completing  recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina and individual combat training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, he was assigned duty as a rifleman, assistant automatic rifleman, and fire team leader, consecutively, with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune. By October 1962 he had reached the rank of Corporal. From December 1962 until November 1964, Corporal Kellogg served as squad leader with Company D, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Brigade. Upon his return to the United States, he was assigned duty as Sergeant of the Guard, Marine Air Base Squadron 31, Marine Aircraft Group 31 at Beaufort, South Carolina. He was promoted to Sergeant on May 1, 1965.


In March 1966, he was ordered to the Republic of Vietnam where he served as Weapons Platoon Sergeant and later, Company Supply Non-commissioned Officer of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division. He was promoted to Staff Sergeant on July 1, 1967.

In December 1967, SSgt Kellogg was assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, serving as a squad leader with M-16 Special Task Group Command, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines and subsequently as a platoon sergeant, and later, platoon commander of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines.

Returning for his second tour of duty in the Republic of Vietnam in December 1969, SSgt Kellogg served briefly as a platoon sergeant with Company A, 1st Battalion, 26th Marines. During March 1970, he was reassigned duty as a platoon sergeant of Company G, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. His actions on March 11, 1970 were to result in his receiving the Medal of Honor. Wounded in action in Quang Nam Province on May 8, 1970, he was evacuated to the U.S. Naval Hospital, Yokosuka, Japan.

He was released from the hospital in October 1970 and returned to duty that December, when he assumed his assignment as Instructor, Field Medical Service School, at Camp Pendleton, California. He was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant on July 1, 1972. He was later promoted to Sergeant Major, and retired from the Marine Corps in October 1990.

A complete list of Sergeant Major Kellogg’s medals and decorations includes: the Medal of Honor, the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”, the Purple Heart Medal with two gold stars, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Meritorious Unit Commendation with one bronze star, the Good Conduct Medal with three bronze stars, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one silver star, the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross Color) with palm and gold frame, the Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Civil Action Color (First Class) with palm and gold frame, the Vietnam Campaign Medal with device, the Rifle Expert Badge, and the Pistol Expert Badge.


The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to


for service as set forth in the following CITATION:


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, Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division, in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam on the night of March 11, 1970. Under the leadership of Gunnery Sergeant (then Staff Sergeant) 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 defense foliage to a position near the Marines, and hurled a hand grenade into their midst which glanced off the chest of Gunnery Sergeant 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, Gunnery Sergeant 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 own life to save the lives of his comrades, Gunnery Sergeant Kellogg reflected the highest credit upon himself and upheld the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Richard M. Nixon
President of the United States

In 1984, Kellogg designated The Unknown service member from the Vietnam War during a ceremony at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, May 17, 1984. The Unknown service member was later identified in 1998 as Air Force 1st Lt Michael Joseph Blassie, following mitochondrial DNA testing.

After retiring from the military, Kellogg remained in Hawaii and continues to help veterans, working for the Department of Veterans Affairs as a benefit counselor at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.  Son Aaron is a Paratrooper in the U.S Army

Sgt.Major Allan J. Kellogg with author Dr. Duane A. Vachon


The information in this article was sourced from a variety of sources both internal and external.  Every effort was made to ensure that the information is current and correct. These articles are presented to honor the heroes they are written about.