The names of two U. S. Army Green Berets awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously during the Vietnam War were inducted into the U.S. Army Special Forces Regiment as distinguished and honorary members Friday during a formal ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Ft. Bragg, N.C.
The honored Special Forces soldiers, Master Sergeant Charles E. Hosking, Jr. and Specialist Fifth Class John J. Kedenburg were among 12 people honored during the ceremony held at the John F. Kenney Hall Auditorium on Ft. Bragg.
Two additional inductees into the Special Forces Regiment included, Army Major General Geoffrey C. Lambert (Ret.), and Army Major Chester Garrett, awarded posthumously. Inducted into the Civil Affairs Regiment were: Army Brigadier General Bruce B. Bingham, (Ret.), Army Lieutenant Colonel Andrew S. Natsios, (Ret.), Mr. Gilberto R. Perez (Honorary), and Mr. Hani Abukishk (Honorary).
And inducted into the Psychological Operations Regiment were: Army Colonel John E. Markham, (Ret.), Army Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Avedon, (Posthumous), Army Major Raymond P. Ambrozak, (Ret.), and Governor Matthew C. Armstrong, (Honorary).
The Special Warfare Center and School is the doctrinal and training home of the Army’s special operations forces and, in association with that role, play hosts to the regimental halls of honor for Special Forces, civil affairs and psychological operations troops.
Of the two Green Beret inductees into the Special Forces Regiment, Master Sergeant Hosking earned the Medal of Honor on March 21, 1967 while assigned to Detachment A-302, Company A, while serving as a company advisor in III Corps of the Civilian Irregular Defense Group Reaction Battalion during combat operations in Don Luan District. A Viet Cong enemy soldier, apprehended and identified as a Viet Cong sniper, somehow managed to grab a hand grenade, pulled the pin and started running toward two American and two Vietnamese allies standing a short distance away. Hosking immediately leaped on the enemy soldier’s back, forced him to the ground with the Viet Cong’s body on top of the grenade. The blast instantly killed Hosking and the Viet Cong while saving the lives of other members in his command group at that time.
Kedenburg earned his Medal of Honor June 13, 1968 as the team leader of Recon Team Nevada, that was based out of the top-secret base in Kontum, FOB 2, was one of six bases conducting an eight-year secret war during the Vietnam War under the aegis of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group, or simply SOG. During a long-range patrol in Laos, Recon Team Nevada was attacked and encircled by a battalion-sized North Vietnamese Army element. After a severe firefight, the team executed a quick reaction movement to break away from the enemy soldiers. As the team moved toward an LZ, Kedenburg called for air support while maintaining rear security for the recon team. Survivors said Kedenburg’s withering gunfire and use of hand grenades enabled the embattled team to reach an LZ with only one team member unaccounted for. When helicopters arrived to pull out the team, the crew had to drop ropes down to the team on the ground to extract them from the triple-canopy jungle floor. The first chopper successfully pulled out the first half of the team. As the remaining team members hooked into new ropes dropped from a second helicopter, the indigenous soldier who was listed as MIA appeared suddenly at the extraction point. Kedenburg unhesitatingly gave up his place on the rope to the S. Vietnamese team member and directed the pilot to leave the area. Kedenburg continued to engage the swarming enemy around, the LZ, killing at least six enemy soldiers before he was overpowered.
A SOG Bright Light team, RT Illinois, found Kedenburg’s body sitting up against a tree, where he had apparently given himself two morphine syrette injections and had attempted to place a tourniquet around his left leg. The Bright Light team also reported that Kedenburg had attempted to burn his Signal Operating Instructions and his CAC Code that was used to encrypt and decrypt messages. It appeared as though he was killed by a large-caliber round which had blown apart the BAR ammo belt and harness he wore and destroyed his CAR-15. RT Illinois was engaged in heavy firefights with NVA soldiers for approximately four hours before the team could extract Kedenburg’s body from Laos. Additionally, it should be noted that Kedenburg became the team leader of RT Nevada in December 1967, after a brutal fire fight in Laos where NVA soldiers killed the team leader at that time, Dan Wagner Jr. Kedenburg was able to recover Wagner’s body from Laos.
Image courtesy of Lou DeSeta