First, is this tribute from our pal and fellow SOG historian, Bud Gibson
This being Memorial Day weekend, I wanted to make a special post about loss and the meaning of Memorial Day… RT Nevada One-Zero John Kedenburg is seen above with some of the ‘Yards from his team. In June of 1968 the team was inserted into a target in Laos and had to soon be extracted because of heavy enemy contact and several of the team ‘Yards became separated from the team. As Kedenburg was attaching himself to the rope dangling from the last chopper a missing Yard burst from the brush and ran up to them. Kedenburg gave the Yard his place on the rope, watching as the chopper pulled away with the last of the team. He knew he had to get away from the LZ because he had already called in air strikes on what should have been an empty LZ with only NVA around it. This selfless act of courage is the last time that anyone saw him alive. For his actions on that day – June 14, 1968 – John Kedenburg was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. The next day a Bright Light team, RT Illinois led by One-Zero Sherman Batman, went in to recover the body and they found him a number of yards away from the LZ, seated upright next to a log apparently trying to destroy his codebook and other classified material when he died from wounds suffered during the airstrike. It is possible that one of the ‘Yards pictured above is the one for whom Kedenburg gave up his seat, and thus his life.(From Frank Greco and interviews w Mr. Louis Deseta)
My article about the MOH awarded John Kendenburg Below.
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 exactly like something he would do.