In a time and day when all we hear on the news is how a soldier shot and killed 16 Afghan civilians, this story needed to be told because that one drunken soldier does not represent our fighting men. Master Sgt. Roy P. Benavidez was an inspiration to me. His friend Warren asked me to write Benavidez story. I hope you read it and feel as proud of our American soldiers as I do today.
"If the story of his heroism were a movie script you would not believe it" President Ronald Reagan said of Roy P. Benevidez
Roy P. Benevidez son of a Texas sharecrop holder was orphaned at 10 years old. A seventh grade drop out who constantly suffered the humiliating taunting as a "dumb Mexican" later became a rare class of warrior. He was awarded the Medal Of Honor.
On May 2,1968. 13.30, Loc, ninh a Green Beret outpost screams for help from a nearby shortwave radio "Get us out of here, for God's sake help" it came from a twelve man patrol that was completely surrounded by a North Vietnamese battalion.
Armed with only a knife and a medic bag Benevidez jumped into a helicopter with a three man crew to rescue his comrades.
The enemy was too numerous for the helicopter to evacuate the soldiers. Hovering at 10 feet and seventy five yards from the battle Roy jumps. He was shot almost immediately, but he got up and kept moving. A grenade later got him. Shrapnel tearing into his face and neck. He reached the mens position. There he found four dead and the rest badly wounded. Wounded himself he bagan treating the wounded, while also calling in air strikes, and distribute ammunition. He was shot again. Ordering the helicopter closer he dragged the dead and the wounded aboard then ran back to retrieve classified documents.He was shot in the stomach, grenade fragments cut into his back but he got back up and kept moving making it back to the helicopter. Upon take off the pilot was shot and the helicopter didn't make it quite off the ground before it came crashing back down. Unbelievably Benevidez pulled the wounded from the wreckage creating a defensive perimeter he called in air strikes and another helicopter comes. He kept fighting until air support arrived.
Enemy fire raked the perimeter. Benevidez repeatedly exposed himself to small arms fire, instructing the wounded to continue fighting. Benevidez was shot several more times. A second helicopter lands and Benevidez loads the wounded. While he is doing so he is charged on by a Vietnamese soldier who clubs him and stabs him with his bayonet. With a broken jaw, Bayonet wounds in both arms and multiple gun shot wounds Benevidez pulls the knife out of his body and KILLS his attacker. As Benevidez dragged the last wounded American to the chopper, he saw two enemy soldiers charge out of the jungle. He grabbed a nearby rifle and shot them both dead. Only after all the wounded were on the chopper did he let others pull in aboard. Blood poured from the chopper. Benevidez holding his intestines in with his hands the 20 minute ride back to base. At Loch Ninh he was put on triage and placed alongside the dead. He had done all he could that day. Miraculously he yells from among the bodies and tells them "I'm not dead" They drag him out from among the dead and take him to be with the wounded. Benevidez did not succumb to his wounds and lived to tell his story.
Today the U.S Special Forces has a phrase they use over the radio when a fight is going bad and courage needs to be summoned they call out "Tango, Mike, Mike" "Tango. Mike, Mike" that was Roy's radio call sign
Let's never forget Roy P. Benevidez; a 32 year old Texas son who had just performed one of the most heroic acts of the Vietnam War, All eight men rescued that day lived. It took 13 years for Master Sargent Roy P. Benevidez to receive the Medal of Honor. In an unprecedented act of military honor the United States Navy names one of its ships after an army Sargent Roy P. Benevidez
More on Roy P. Benevidez
Roy did not die from his wounds click here
Special thank you to Warren Johnson who asked me to write memorial to his friend. It was a great and deep honor for me.