Roy Benavidez – Sergeant who saved 8 soldiers risking his life

By Narendra V

roy benavidez

ROY BENAVIDEZ roy benavidez

Staff Sergeant Roy Benavidez was a member of United States Special Forces, who received Medal of Honor for his bravery in Vietnam War. He saved eight of his fellow soldiers despite wounded by enemy bullets.

Early Life

His father was Mexican and mother Native Indian, His father died of tuberculosis when he was two and his mother also died after five years. He with his brother lived with their uncle and aunt, he used to do odd works like farm labour, shoe shining etc. His education was irregular.

He joined Texas Army National Guard in 1952 and then got into Army Special Forces.

Vietnam War

On march 18 1968 a 12 man US special forces team went through forest west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam by helicopter  for reconnaissance and intelligence gathering of enemy activity there but they were surrounded by North Vietnamese Army with 1000 soldiers, Special Forces team radioed to base in Loc Ninh for help and rescue, 3 helicopters were dispatched but couldn’t able to land because of heavy fire by enemy with small arms and anti-aircraft artillery, rescue operation team themselves wounded helicopters hit by bullets, they returned to base. Benavidez  was at the base listening to radio voices from his fellow soldiers he grabs as many medical kits he can and he jumped on to a helicopter which is going for another rescue attempt, nearing the extraction point he realizes that all the team members were either dead or wounded and unable to move, he asks helicopter pilot to hover nearby and jumped on to land then runs 75 metres in heavy fire from enemies, he was injured in leg and face, even though he went to team members and taking wounded members and loaded them in to aircraft despite his severe injuries and pain he carried most of the team members to the helicopter then he goes to the team leader who was dead to collect classified documents from him, recovers his body and documents and reaches helicopter during that he was even more seriously injured due to grenade attack his back was badly injured by shrapnel. Under heavy enemy fire helicopter pilot severely wounded and the aircraft overturns, Benavidez goes to that helicopter helping wounded soldiers out of helicopter and calls for another extraction helicopter he begins giving first aid to team members when another extraction helicopter arrives he carries wounded soldiers to that aircraft. He spotted and killed two enemy soldiers who were approaching helicopter. And then in very serious condition he submitted himself inside helicopter for evacuation. He saved 8 fellow soldiers.

For his extreme devotion to service, brave actions in the enemy territory, fearless leadership, despite all odds keeping his determination to save lives of fellow soldiers he was awarded Medal of Honor by President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

He spent his retired life giving inspirational speeches in schools, colleges, military institutions. He wrote three autobiographical books.

In 1998 he died due to respiratory problems.

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