The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, SP4 Kenton Elwood Henninger, who died in the service of his country on March 7th, 1969 in Pleiku Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Small Arms/AW. At the time of his death Kenton was 21 years of age. He was from North Olmsted, Ohio. Kenton is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 30W, Line 63.
The decorations earned by SP4 Kenton Elwood Henninger include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.
In February 1969, Army Sgt. Kenton Elwood Henninger, 21, of 23311 Lorain Road, North Olmsted, called his parents from Taiwan, where he was finishing a rest and recreation period before returning to Vietnam. He told his parents, Elwood K. and Adeline Henninger how much he was looking forward to getting home in six weeks. Henninger was killed in action on March 7, 1969 while serving with Co. A, 4th Division, 35th Infantry. He had returned to combat February 28 and was listed as missing March 7. A former Press carrier and a 1965 graduate of Bay High School, he studied business administration at Ohio University. He left college and was drafted January 4, 1968, and went to Vietnam in June. He had hoped to resume his studies upon his return. He was an only child, born September 19, 1947.
Sgt. Henninger is interred at Sunset Memorial Park.
Information as gathered from the Cleveland Press and Plain Dealer, March 15, 16 and 20, 1969.
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
HEADQUARTERS 4TH INFANTRY DIVISION
APO San Francisco 96262
GENERAL ORDERS 15 May 1969
AWARD OF THE SILVER STAR
1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced posthumously:
HENNINGER, KENTON E. US51834525 SERGEANT (then SP4) United States
Army, Co A, 2nd Bn, 35th Inf, 4th Inf Div, APO 96262
Awarded: Silver Star
Date action: 7 March 1969
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For gallantry in action while engaged in military operations against an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Specialist Henninger distinguished himself while serving as a fire team leader with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. On 6 March 1969, A Company was conducting a search and clear operation in the Chu Prong Mountain area, Republic of Vietnam. At approximately 1615 hours, Specialist Henninger's squad came under intense enemy fire from an estimated enemy platoon entrenched in bunkers. Specialist Four Henninger was hit in the leg in the initial burst of fire. Ignoring his wound, he immediately placed a heavy and accurate base of fire on the closest enemy positions, enabling the rest of his squad to find cover. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, he continued to place effective fire upon the enemy until he was wounded in both arms and could no longer fire his weapon. Despite his wounds and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, he continued to expose himself to enemy fire in an attempt to draw fire away from his squad and was mortally wounded.
Specialist Henninger's personal bravery, determination and exemplary devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.
Kenton E. Henninger, my only male first cousin, was born September 19, 1947. He graduated from Bay Village High School in 1965 and was killed in action in South Vietnam on March 6, 1969. He was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action, the nation's 3rd highest award behind the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross. He was the only child of my Aunt and Uncle, Adeline and Elwood Henninger. They never recovered from the loss of their son, who is buried with them in Sunset Memorial Park in North Olmsted.
William A. Papenbrock