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AMEDD Distinguished Service Cross Recipients > AMEDD Distinguished Service Cross Recipients of the Vietnam War

Navy CrossThere was only one Army recipient of the Navy Cross during the Vietnam War, 1LT Kenneth Ledford Jr.

Ledford, Kenneth, Jr.
First Lieutenant, Medical Service Corps, U.S. Army
58th Medical Bn, Force Logistics Command
Date of Action: September 15, 1970
The Navy Cross is awarded to First Lieutenant Kenneth Ledford, Jr., United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 15 September 1970 while serving with the 58th Medical Battalion, United States Army, engaged in armed conflict against enemy forces in the Republic of Vietnam. While flying as a medical evacuation pilot and aircraft commander of a rescue helicopter, First Lieutenant Ledford was attempting to extract six seriously wounded personnel from a landing zone when he came under heavy enemy small-arms and automatic-weapons fire. Forced to depart the area, he subsequently enlisted the aid of four Navy helicopters and returned to the scene for another rescue attempt. As the aircraft were making their descent into the zone, they came under intense small-arms, automatic-weapons, and .51 caliber fire. Two of First Lieutenant Ledford's cover ships were shot down, a third gunship was disabled, and a fourth was seriously damaged. Instantly, First Lieutenant Ledford went to the rescue of the crew of one of these aircraft which had autorotated into a lake. Despite intense enemy fire from several positions as he neared the stricken aircraft, he succeeded in rescuing the downed crew. Once airborne he enlisted the aid of the remaining attack helicopter to cover him while he attempted to extract the dead and wounded from the second downed aircraft. As he approached the wreckage, again coming under a hail of small-arms and automatic-weapons fire, he landed and at great personal risk held his position while his crew made two time-consuming extractions of the wounded men. As the extraction was completed, he took off through the continuing barrage of enemy bullets and impacting mortar rounds. First Lieutenant Ledford's professionalism, courage under fire, and inspiring dedication to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Armed Forces.