On June 14, 1968 Recon Team Nevada was running for it’s life. The team had just had a violent firefight with NVA forces near highway 110 and had a estimated 500 man battalion on their tail.
The team is eventually encircled but due to the leadership of John Kendenburg, the team managed to shoot their way out of the trap. The team resumed their getaway with the NVA hot on their heels. Anytime the SOG men stopped to catch their breath and check their status the enemy caught up and another fierce firefight would ensue. Seeing that this couldn’t continue, Kedenburgh sent his men on ahead of him to an area to be extracted via rope.
As his men went on ahead , Kedenburg fought ” a gallant rear guard action against the pursing enemy” like a one man army. He put up such a aggressive fight that he was able to break contact and join up with the men at the pick up where he learned one of the indigenous team members was missing. Finding a hole in the canopy of the jungle he radioed for the helicopters to drop McGuire rigs for men since landing was not possible and time was running out to find a landing zone.
“A Huey dropped ropes, and lifted away four men. A second Huey dropped ropes. and Kedenburg and his last three men climbed into the four McGuire rigs. Then the NVA troops broke though supporting aerial fire just as RT Nevada’s missing Yard arrived, drawn by the sound of the helicopter.”
Without even thinking about it, Kedenburg unsnapped himself and gave his spot on the McGuire rig to the newly arrived team member and stood guard as he climbed in. “The young Green Beret turned alone to face the horde of onrushing enemy soldiers.”
Witnesses above in the helicopters said they saw Kedenburg kill six NVA soldiers before being hit multiple times and collapsing. The last airstrike went in right across and on top of the fallen Kedenburg.
For his actions John Kedenburg posthumously received the Medal of Honor. His friends said that he was so selfless anyone who knew him would say that his actions were not surprising.