Photos courtesy of Janet Ross. – KtE
The community around Felton gathered on Monday for their annual Memorial Day Service honoring a Medal of Honor winner as they have in years past continuing a tradition of remembering one of their own who gave all in defense of the nation.
A service held on Monday after remembered Ray McKibben, who was born in Felton in the mid 1940s and died in December 1968 while fighting in Song Mao in the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
Sgt. McKibben, serving in Troop B of the 7th Squadron (Air Mobile) of the 17th Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. Army, won the Medal of Honor for his actions that took his life while on a reconnaissance patrol in enemy territory.
According to information available from his citation, Sgt. McKibben’s team came under heavy automatic weapons fire from a fortified bunker and quickly took cover.
Sgt. McKibben charged through bamboo and heavy brush attacking the position, taking the life of the enemy gunner and ordered the team forward. Enemy flanking the position came fire from aerial support.
While still on patrol, Sgt. McKibben’s team came under fire again from another position and one of his men were wounded. He pulled the man to safety while under heavy fire and began to administer first aid. After that, and seeing his men were pinned down, Sgt. McKibben single-handedly charged ahead against the enemy defenses and cleared the first bunker, and continued toward a second, and ran out of ammunition.
He used a captured weapon until it was empty, and then threw hand grenades to silence the enemy in the second bunker.
His men began to move ahead and he found a third bunker, charging it by himself again, and was mortally wounded in the process but shot one more enemy fighter before he died, allowing the assault forward to continue.
For these actions, McKibben was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. He was buried in Felton after his body was returned home.
This year’s service marked the 52nd anniversary of Sgt. McKibben’s death.