The G.I. On The
Cover of Life Magazine, August 14th 1944, was 81 years old when he was
Interviewed about how he became the face on that issue of Life Magazine at
He still remembered
the exact time - 02.06 a.m. - when he leapt from his transport plane on
"Most people, only
think of D-Day on the big anniversaries, like the 40th or 50th," said
Kelso Home. It comes to my mind every June 6th and on a lot of other days
Kelso was a second
lieutenant in the 82nd airborne division when he parachuted into Normandy.
He landed alone in a field, so nervous and frightened that he hurriedly
cut away his parachute harness and with it his bag of rations, socks and
Americans, he spent D-Day skirmishing with Germans and trying to gather
men from his platoon, they were scattered badly during the airdrop.
About a week later,
he was at the head of an infantry column advancing on a German-held town.
This staff car came up alongside us and a General asked where we were
While the car had
stopped a guy got out and says to me, "I WANT TO TAKE YOUR PICTURE."
I said, "well go
ahead, and take it then." I looked into the camera and he said to look
away, and when I did he took it. He asked my name and the town where I
came from and then they left. I didn't think much of it.
Wounded by shell
fire on July 4th 1944, Kelso was back in England when the photo, taken by
Bob Landry, appeared on Life's cover. "I took a lot of stuff from guys in
my unit about being a cover boy, I still get it occasionally," [said
Back home in
Dublin, Georgia, his wife, Doris, was taking care of the couple’s month-old son, Kelso Jr.
The post office
called her at 6 a.m. the day Life magazine arrived. When she saw the
cover she said," I thought he was the best looking one in the whole business." She
also was glad to see his wedding ring in the picture.
It was a standard
joke among wives that men took of their wedding bands on the way over to
Europe and put them back on, on the way back.
After the war Kelso
worked for the postal service until his retirement.
In 1992 Kelso was
at Fort Benning for the graduation of a grandson, Kelso III, who followed
him into the airborne.
Kelso Horne pinned
his old paratrooper wings on his grandson during the ceremony.
Sadly, LT Kelso
away on the 25th November, 2000, aged 88.
(photo courtesy Guy Hudson)