Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Vietnam War - U.S. Army

John J. Kedenburg

Details
  • Rank: Specialist Fifth Class
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Command and Control Detachment North, Forward Operating Base 2, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne),
    1st Special Forces
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: June 13, 1968
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Republic of Vietnam
Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp5c. Kedenburg, U.S. Army, Command and Control Detachment North, Forward Operating Base 2, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), distinguished himself while serving as adviser to a long-range reconnaissance team 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. Sp5c. 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, Sp5c. 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 preselected landing zone with the loss of only one man, who was unaccounted for. Once in the landing zone, Sp5c. 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, Sp5c. Kedenburg and the remaining three members of the team harnessed themselves to the sling on a second hovering helicopter. Just as the helicopter was 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 in the landing zone. Sp5c. 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. Sp5c. 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.
Medal of Honor Recipient John J. Kedenburg
Medal of Honor Recipient John J. Kedenburg
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Brooklyn, Kings County, New York
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: April 7, 1970
    The White House, presented by Pres. Richard M. Nixon to his family
  • Born: July 31, 1946, Brooklyn, Kings County, NY, United States
  • Died: June 14, 1968, Republic of Vietnam
  • Buried: Long Island National Cemetery (MH) (2H-3684), Farmingdale, NY, United States
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