President of the United States
Distinguished Service Cross
John K. Kauhaihao
Rank and Organization: First Lieutenant, Company B, 2nd
Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)
Date and Place: 5 September 1969, Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For extraordinary heroism in connection
with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of
Vietnam. First Lieutenant Kauhaihao distinguished himself during a
reconnaissance-in-force operation in Tay Ninh Province. He was leading his platoon
over thick jungle terrain at the point of their company when they were fired upon by a
battalion-size force of North Vietnamese regulars occupying bunker fortifications.
Lieutenant Kauhaihao quickly directed his men to cover behind several large, bamboo
covered dirt mounds. As the rest of the company moved up to lend supporting fire to
the pinned down point element, they were caught in a crossfire from flanking enemy
bunkers. Seizing upon a momentary lull in the exchange of fire, Lieutenant Kauhaihao
then hacked an opening through the bamboo growing over the dirt mound behind which he took
cover. In the next fifteen minutes, he hurled more than thirty hand grenades through
this opening at the enemy bunkers. In so doing, Lieutenant Kauhaihao drew enemy fire
on himself again and again so that his men could sight enemy gunners and bring them under
suppressive fire. Lieutenant Kauhaihao then directed the withdrawal of his battered
point element. Crawling over a hundred meters of fire-swept terrain, he dragged
vital equipment to the rear and helped wounded soldiers to a position of safety.
While rejoining his men to the company's main force, Lieutenant Kauhaihao sighted an enemy
squad moving up on his tattered platoon. As he advanced to engage the approaching
enemy, Lieutenant Kauhaihao was morally wounded by enemy fire.
First Lieutenant Kauhaihao's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at
the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military
service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.