COL Winchester Kelso, Jr., USA (Ret.)
6 August 1918 - 12 November 1995
Lt Col Mary Armstrong Kelso, USA (Ret)
15 May, 1918 – 3 September, 2006
Battle of the Bulge - December, 1944, during the Battle of the Ardennes, the 3rd Battalion of the 335th Infantry Regiment U.S. Army 84th Division – RAILSPLITTERS, commanded by MAJ Bahe and 1LT Winchester Kelso valiantly resisted the German troops, as told herein:
But now, it was time to cross the Weser River and the 335th Regiment was selected to establish the bridgehead. The 3rd Battalion’s mission was to cross in assault boats, turn south, and then move to the autobahn as quickly as possible in order to clear the area between the autobahn and the river. The autobahn ran to Hannover, Germany, their next major target. After crossing the river, their route of maneuver would take them through the Weser Gebirge, a rather high, heavily wooded ridge that was just sought of Minden, Germany. The jumped off at 0610 and the element of surprise was working for them. By 0630, most of the battalion was across the Weser River and contact with elements of the German army was beginning. By mid-morning, LT Kelso and hi platoon were advancing through the woody hills of the Weser Gebirge. As they approached what he recalled to be a hunting lodge type home, LT Kelso observed a German lady come out of the house to meet him. She carried a small box and several other items and presented them to him. At that time, German citizens had been warned to turn over all weapons to advancing allied soldiers. A short time later, in a lull in their advance, LT Kelso examined the contents of the box and found it to contain a beautiful Walther PP pistol, with all accessories.
Colonel Winchester Kelso, Jr., recipient of numerous awards, including the Purple Heart, held many positions of great responsibility in the service of his country. He received his law degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1940. After working with his father’s firm in San Antonio, he enlisted in the U.S. Army for service in WW II. Following Basic Training and Officer Candidate School, he served in Europe as an infantry officer and, in 1949, accepted a Regular Army commission in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He served as a military attorney and judge in various assignments in Japan, Korea, Viet Nam, and the United States. He served a Legislative Liaison in the Office of the Secretary of the Army and was one of the first judges appointed to the Court of Military Review when it was established in 1969. His last assignment before retirement was as Staff Judge Advocate of Forces Command. After retiring in 1975, Colonel Kelso and his wife, Mary, made their home in Austin, Texas. In 1990, the Winchester Kelso Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Law was created at the University of Texas School of Law in honor of Colonel Kelso, his father and his grandfather, three generations of American citizens, soldiers, and Texas lawyers.
This war trophy remained in the Kelso family possession until its disposition by sale. It was his wife, Lieutenant Colonel Mary Kelso’s, desire that the proceeds realized from the sale would be used to establish designated scholarships, with the Military Officers Association of America Scholarship Fund, in the name of her beloved husband. She felt it would be fitting that the pistol, a war implement from a sad and brutal time in the history of the world, would finally help to achieve positive results for each student who would benefit from its disposition.