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Full Text Citations For Award of
The Navy Cross in the Vietnam War
To US Army and Foreign Personnel 

US Army 

Ledford, Kenneth, Jr.
First Lieutenant, 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.


Vietnamese Military Personnel 

Bay, Tran Van
Private First Class, (Vietnamese)
3rd Company, 3rd Battalion, Army of the Republic of Vietnam
Date Of Action: February 19, 1967

The Navy Cross is awarded to Private First Class Tran Van Bay, Vietnamese Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with operations against insurgent Communist (Viet Cong) forces while serving with the 3d Company, 3d Battalion, 51st Regiment, Army of the Republic of Vietnam. Private First Class Tran Van Bay heroically sacrificed his life to prevent serious injury or death to an American comrade. Situated with his unit along a road in Hieu Duc District, Quang Nam Province, Private First Class Tran and his fellow Vietnamese soldiers were taken under sudden intense rifle and automatic weapons fire from an unknown number of Viet Cong. The men of Company G, Second Battalion, 4th Marines, in pursuit of an assigned objective, were simultaneously moving along the road amidst the Vietnamese soldiers when their advance was halted by the same heavy fire. Taking immediate cover off the side of the road, Marines and friendly Vietnamese alike prepared to return the fire which was now sporadic. Private First Class Tran, in close proximity to Private First Class Samuel R. Vitello, U.S. Marine Corps, observed a "booby trap" which threatened the life of the Marine. Without hesitation and with utter disregard for his own safety, Private First Class Tran violently pushed the Marine from the path of the instrument of death which was instantly activated. In performing this selfless act, the dauntless Tran exposed himself to the full blast of the explosive. As a direct result of this intrepid action, Private First Class Vitello escaped with painful but minor wounds in contrast with the Vietnamese soldier who was mortally wounded. Private First Class Tran's devotion to duty and magnificent display of uncommon valor were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States and the Republic of Vietnam. He gallantly gave his life in the service of the Free World Military Forces.

Van Kiet, Nguyen
Petty Officer Third Class, (Vietnamese)
L.L.D.B. (SEAL), Navy of the Republic of Vietnam
Date Of Action: April 13, 1972

The Navy Cross is awarded to Petty Officer Third Class Nguyen Van Kiet, Vietnamese Navy (SEAL), for extraordinary heroism while serving with friendly forces engaged in armed conflict against the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong communist aggressors in the Republic of Vietnam. On 13 April 1972, Petty Officer Kiet participated in an unprecedented recovery operation for a downed United States aviator behind enemy lines in Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam. He courageously volunteered to accompany a United States SEAL Advisor in an extremely hazardous attempt to reach the aviator, who was physically unable to move toward friendly positions. Using a sampan and traveling throughout the night, they silently made their way deep into enemy territory, past numerous major enemy positions, locating the pilot at dawn. Once, after being spotted by a North Vietnamese patrol, he calmly continued to keep the enemy confused as the small party successfully evaded the patrol. Later, they were suddenly taken under heavy machine gun fire. Thinking first of the pilot, he quickly pulled the sampan to safety behind a bank and camouflaged it while air strikes were called on the enemy position. Due to Petty Officer Kiet's coolness under extremely dangerous conditions and his outstanding courage and professionalism, an American aviator was recovered after an eleven-day ordeal behind enemy lines. His self-discipline, personal courage, and dynamic fighting spirit were an inspiration to all; thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and the Naval Service

(US Navy SEAL Thomas Norris earned the Medal of Honor in the same action for which PO Kiet was awarded the Navy Cross.)

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