(From the Midpacifican, Issue of Dec 16, 1944)
With the 96th Division on Leyte - If, on some dark, murky night up front, you hear something moving in the bushes, please make sure it's a Jap before you shoot. It might be Nellie. and when you hear an eerie night piercing cry tht sounds like the heart-broken call of a man for his mate, don't be frightened. It's only Pfc. Ova Art Kelley calling for his lost love, a Leyte lady Caribao.
The romance between Nellie and Kelley blossomed forth last week. It was a case of love at first sight.
Love was the farthest thing from Kelley's mind the day they met. He hated everything - the Japs, the rain, and particularly the knee deep mud bogging his vehicle. How he asked himself, was he going to get all those mortar shells up to his company? It was at least 200 yards away. And he was alone.
As he cursed Japs and mud alike, he was startled by a rustle in the bushes. He reached for his gun and pointed it, his finger tight against the trigger.
But there gazing at him was a pair of soulful, big brown eyes.
"There was something about them that reminded me of our own cow back on the farm." relates Kelley, whose home is near Norwood, MO. "She looked at me and I looked at her."
The resemblance - at least in the eyes - was so startling that the private involuntarily called out, "Nellie!"
The lumbering water buffalo, without hesitation, slopped through the mud and parked herself alongside the truck, turning her head coyly and gazing with unashamed affection at her new master, as if to say: "I'm yours, all yours. What can I do for you?"
Averting his eyes shyly, Kelley let them wander and - behold! for the first time he observed Nellie had a sled attached to her clumsy though powerful form.
Inspired, Kelley loaded the shells on the sled, fastened them with the ropes and the pair made the journey to his unit, Co A of a 382nd Regiment battalion. Kelley rode on Nellie's back.
From then on the Caribao Express made many trips from the ammunition point to the front lines. Afraid lest some GIs steal Nellie, her master had ner name branded just above her left foreleg.
Then one morning Kelley woke and found Nellie had disappeared. There were no tracks or other clue to point the diection she had gone. No one had seen her. She had vanished from Kelley's life as abruptly as she had entered.
"It couldn't have been that she was fickle," says Kelley sorrowfully. "I know my Nellie. She must have been captured by the Japs."
In case you see Nellie, please treat her kindly and return her to Kelley. She weighs in the neighborhood of 700 pounds.
This came out in the paper mentioned on top a few days after his death. My uncle has his own wikipedia page at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ova_A._Kelley