The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Captain Leland Thornton Kennedy, United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force while serving with Detachment 5, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, DaNang Air Base, Vietnam, in action in Southeast Asia on 5 October 1966. On that date, Captain Kennedy, flying as pilot of an unarmed HH-3E rescue helicopter, proceeded deep into hostile territory in attempts to rescue two downed American pilots. Disregarding his own safety, he voluntarily flew through heavy automatic weapons and intense small arms fire to reach the injured airmen. Captain Kennedy succeeded in rescuing one of the downed American; however, heavy ground fire forced him from the area before he could reach the other one. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Captain Kennedy reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.