Ken VanHoy was born on January 17, 1942, in Goldsboro, North Carolina. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on February 25, 1960, and completed basic training at NTC San Diego, California, in May 1960. VanHoy next attended Aviation Electronics Technician A School at NATTC Memphis, Tennessee, from May 1960 to June 1961, followed by service as a P-2 Neptune aircraft mechanic with VU-8 at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, from July 1961 to June 1962. Petty Officer VanHoy attended Underwater Demolition Team Replacement training with Class 028 (East Coast) at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, and at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads from June 1962 to January 1963, and then served with UDT-21 at NAB Little Creek from January 1963 to June 1965. He attended additional training at NATTC Millington, Tennessee, from June to August 1965, followed by service with UDT-11 at NAB Coronado, California, from September to November 1965 to October 1966. During this time, Petty Officer VanHoy deployed with UDT-11 Detachment Charlie to Naval Station Subic Bay in the Philippines from November 1965 to September 1966. His next assignment was with SEAL Team ONE at NAB Coronado from October 1966 until he was killed in action in South Vietnam on May 17, 1969. During this time he deployed to Southeast Asia from February to June 1967, from January to June 1968, and from February 1969 until he was killed in action on May 17, 1969. Ken VanHoy was buried at Wayne Memorial Park in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
His 1st (of 6) Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For meritorious service in connection with operations against the enemy while serving with SEAL Team ONE, Detachment GOLF, in the Rung Sat Special Zone, Republic of Vietnam from 4 February to 15 June 1967. Petty Officer VAN HOY exhibited courage, daring and outstanding professional skill during the entire period of deployment. He participated in more than 30 combat missions, often in a leadership position, conducted in the hostile and demanding environment of the Rung Sat Special Zone. On 14 April 1967, Petty Officer VAN HOY was a member of a long range, seven man reconnaissance patrol deep in Viet Cong territory. The patrol had just completed a 24 hour search of the area, pinpointing Viet Cong base areas for a pending U.S. Army search and destroy operation, and were awaiting pick-up at their extraction point on a small stream. Some 30 minutes before the scheduled extraction, a sampan with two armed Viet Cong approached. The patrol leader initiated a hasty ambush. In the ensuing fire fight, one Viet Cong was killed and the other escaped into the foliage near Petty Officer VAN HOY's position. Petty Officer VAN HOY was himself wounded by shrapnel in his left arm. Disregarding his wounds, he provided cover for his platoon leader who searched out and captured the evading enemy. Petty Officer VAN HOY's courage, professionalism, and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Petty Officer VAN HOY is authorized to wear the Combat "V".