3RD PLT, B CO, 2ND BN, 5TH CAV RGT, 1 CAV DIV
From Richmond, VA
06 April 1947 - 12 June 1970
Richard was a man full of compassion, he loved God and his fellow men. We had been in Cambodia on a mission before we went in on 1 May 1970, to find out troop strength, and on 1 May '70 we did a Combat Assault into what was called Landing Zone Ready.
We were in contact from the onset and were pinned down in a big clearing in the heat for what seemed like hours but probably more like an hour, till we made it to the tree line for cover and much needed shade. We had landed just outside of the Fishhook area, and the NVA cache was right there. There was a determined group of individuals defending it. CPT Kimbrell was our CO, and the XO was 1st Lt. Ross. Early on in Cambodia I remember we had a run and gun fight with a battalion of NVA ... 5 to 1 can't be good odds. 1st Platoon collected our dead and wounded while the other platoons were putting up one helluva a fight.
The NVA duffed when we brought in Puff and Blue Max*. The day before we lost Richard we had had an early morning assault to our PHOB. The CO and XO were hit by a B-40. LT Ross managed to get to his M-16 and unloaded a full magazine, then expired. The next day we had 7 men in 3rd Plt and we were on a clover leaf patrol. When we were out about a kilometer we stopped to take a break, and out of a dry creek bed an NVA soldier appeared. We all fanned out and took our positions and he threw a ChiCom hand grenade into our perimeter. I saw it and yelled "Frag" and dove behind a tree for cover. I looked up and saw Sergeant Kuykendall take his helmet off and cover the grenade, and then proceed to lay on top of it. The look of peace and love that came out of him was extraordinary. After the detonation there were 2 others calling for a "MEDIC! MEDIC!". We called for a Medevac, and it was inbound within seconds of the call. We had a small skirmish with a squad size element, but they duffed. The Medevac helicopter lowered a jungle penetrator and I put Sgt Kuykendall in it - he was strapped in because there was no motion, or movement, but as he was being winched up, he had a smile on his face I'll never forget, and it was a look of peace, and serenity.
* "Puff" was a C-47 gunship armed with high-rate-of-fire weapons. "Blue Max" was the Aerial Rocket Artillery (ARA) helicopters, which were just what the name implies.
The database page for Richard Wayne Kuykendall
07 Sep 2002
Last updated 09/07/2002