The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
KAYS, KENNETH MICHAEL
Rank and organization: Private First
Class, U.S. Army, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry,
101st Airborne Division. Place and date: Thua Thien province, Republic of
Vietnam, 7 May 1970. Entered service at: Fairfield, Ill. Born: 22
September 1949, Mount Vernon, Ill.
For conspicuous gallantry intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond
the call of duty. Pfc. (then Pvt.) Kays distinguished himself while serving as a medical
aidman with Company D, 1st Battalion, 101st Airborne Division near Fire Support Base
Maureen. A heavily armed force of enemy sappers and infantrymen assaulted Company D's
night defensive position, wounding and killing a number of its members. Disregarding the
intense enemy fire and ground assault, Pfc. Kays began moving toward the perimeter to
assist his fallen comrades. In doing so he became the target of concentrated enemy fire
and explosive charges, 1 of which severed the lower portion of his left leg. After
applying a tourniquet to his leg, Pfc. Kays moved to the fire-swept perimeter,
administered medical aid to 1 of the wounded, and helped move him to an area of relative
safety. Despite his severe wound and excruciating pain, Pfc. Kays returned to the
perimeter in search of other wounded men. He treated another wounded comrade, and, using
his own body as a shield against enemy bullets and fragments, moved him to safety.
Although weakened from a great loss of blood, Pfc. Kays resumed his heroic lifesaving
efforts by moving beyond the company's perimeter into enemy held territory to treat a
wounded American lying there. Only after his fellow wounded soldiers had been treated and
evacuated did Pfc. Kays allow his own wounds to be treated. These courageous acts by Pfc.
Kays resulted in the saving of numerous lives and inspired others in his company to repel
the enemy. Pfc. Kays' heroism at the risk of his life are in keeping with the highest
traditions of the service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.