Msg. Sgt. Roy P. Benavidez, US Army
Vietnam War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient
Receiving his Medal of Honor from President Ronald Reagan, MSG Benavidez was honored for actions during the Viet Nam conflict. Benavidez, a native Texan, was born 5 August 1935. On May 2, SSG Benavidez was assigned to Detachment B-56, 5th SFG(A). After a 12-man reconnaissance team had been inserted west of Loc Ninh, they encountered enemy resistance and requested emergency extraction. After three helicopters had unsuccessfully attempted to extract them, SSG Benavidez volunteered to return with the helicopters for another attempt. Directing the helicopters to a protected clearing, Benavidez ran to the crippled team. Even though he was severely wounded in his right leg, face and hands, he dragged or carried the dead and wounded to the helicopters. In order to recover the remaining team members, Benavidez threw smoke canisters directing the helicopters to the site. As the enemy fire intensified, he hurried to recover classified documents on the dead team leader. Hit in the abdomen and back, he continued to gather the classified documents. Simultaneously, the pilot of the helicopter was killed and the chopper crashed. Although in extremely critical condition, Benaaidez assisted the wounded out of the overturned aircraft, and gathered the stunned survivors into a defensive perimeter. Under increasing enemy fire, Benavidez went around the perimeter distributing ammunition and water, instilling in them the will to live. He, although extremely weak, began calling in tactical air strikes and directing fire from supporting gunships to suppress the enemy's fire and to permit another extraction attempt. Again wounded in the thigh, Benavidez kept administering first aid to the team members until the extraction helicopter was able to land. He then began ferrying the wounded into the helicopter. Upon his second trip, he was clubbed from behind and he became involved in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy whom he subsequently killed. He continued to carry wounded to the aircraft. Upon reaching the aircraft the last time, Benavidez spotted two enemy soldiers and killed them. Only after all the wounded had been placed on the helicopter did he allow himself to be treated. Benevidez died in El Campo, Texas 1999.
So on my way to work, my Bad Boyfriend was reading to me. It's a short trip, so only got one story out of "Why Courage Matters". I can't find the audio of it to load on the blog, but it's a great story and you should read and/or listen to it.