John J. Kedenburg
Specialist Five Kedenburg distinguished himself on 13 June 1968 while serving with Command and Control North, Forward Operating Base 2, as an advisor to a long range reconnaissance patrol of South Vietnamese irregular troops. The team’s mission was to conduct counterguerrilla operations deep within enemy held territory. Prior to reaching the day’s objective, the team was attacked and encircled by a battalion-size North Vietnamese Army force. Specialist Five Kedenburg assumed immediate command of the team, which succeeded, after a fierce fight, in breaking out of the encirclement. As the team moved through thick jungle to a position from which it could be extracted by helicopter, Specialist Five Kedenburg conducted a gallant rear-guard fight against the pursuing enemy, and called for tactical air support and rescue helicopters. His withering fire against the enemy permitted the team to reach a pre-selected landing zone with the loss of only one man, who was unaccounted for. Once in the landing zone, Specialist Five Kedenburg deployed the team into a perimeter defense against the numerically superior enemy force. When tactical air support arrived, he skillfully directed air strikes against the enemy, suppressing their fire so that helicopters could hover over the area and drop slings to be used in the extraction of the team. After half of the team was extracted by helicopter, Specialist Five Kedenburg and the remaining three members of the team harnessed themselves to the sling on a second hovering helicopter. Just as the helicopter was about to lift them out of the area, the South Vietnamese team member who had been unaccounted for after the initial encounter with the enemy, appeared at the landing zone. Specialist Five Kedenburg unhesitatingly gave up his place in the sling to the man, and directed the helicopter pilot to leave the area. He then continued to engage the enemy who were swarming into the landing zone, killing six enemy soldiers before he was overpowered. Specialist Five Kedenburg’s inspiring leadership, consummate courage and willing self-sacrifice permitted his small team to inflict heavy casualties on the enemy and escape almost certain annihilation, His actions reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.