Sabo was killed on May 10, 1970, during a battle in the Se San River valley of Cambodia. That afternoon, two platoons of Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, were pursuing a North Vietnamese Army force when the party of about 60 soldiers were ambushed by an enemy force of at least 150 soldiers.
According to the proposed Medal of Honor citation, Sabo, who was at the tail end of the American column, led repeated efforts stop the enemy from encircling and overrunning his comrades.
During the fight, Sabo used his own body as a shield to protect a fellow soldier from a grenade blast and sustained multiple shrapnel wounds. Later, already wounded, he exposed himself to enemy fire to strip ammunition from comrades who fell earlier in the day to continue the fight.
Sabo charged the enemy after they ambushed his platoon that day, according to the press release. He killed several enemy soldiers and drew fire away from his platoon, ultimately forcing the enemy to retreat.
While securing a re-supply of ammunition, a grenade landed nearby. Sabo threw the grenade and shielded a wounded comrade with his body, saving his comrade’s life.
Although wounded, Sabo continued to charge the enemy’s bunker and received several serious wounds from automatic weapons fire. He crawled towards the enemy emplacement and threw a grenade into the bunker. The explosion stopped enemy fire but also ended Sabo’s life.
Sabo’s courage and complete disregard for his own safety saved the lives of many of his platoon members, the release said.
Eight soldiers, including Sabo, were killed in the battle, according to military records.