View Full Version : His mother named him Roy

Cliff Rohrabacher
07-25-2008, 6:22 PM
Roy Perez Benavidez

And he was a hell of a man.

On the morning of May 2, 1968 a 12-man reconnaissance team was in desperate straights after they were inserted west of Loc Ninh, and encountered enemy resistance and requested emergency extraction.

Three helicopters failed to penetrate close enough to extract them.
Master Sergeant Benavidez took only his knife and a medical kit and volunteered to go. And try to evacuate the soldiers. Landing outside the zone of combat Benavidez ran to the crippled team and was shot almost immediately. Then, a Grenade blast threw him to the ground shredding his face with shrapnel.

Seriously wounded in his right leg, face and hands, he dragged or carried the dead and wounded to the helicopters. He was shot again.

Benavidez deployed smoke grenades to allow helicopters to approach the area to rescue the remaining soldiers which he helped carry to the helicopters. Viet Cong fire weapons intensified. He was shot again while recovering classified documents from a dead soldier. Shot again and hit in the abdomen and back, recovered the material. While he was doing this the pilot of a helicopter with the wounded was shot and killed.
The chopper crashed. Although in extremely critical condition, Benavidez carried the wounded out of the burning overturned helicopter. Bleeding from numerous life threatening wounds he grouped the wounded into a form establishing a defensive perimeter.

Seizing an enemy weapon Benavidez held that a perimeter of wounded soldiers passing out ammunition and water. Benavidez was extremely weak from wounds and blood loss yet he called in air strikes and directed fire from helicopter gunships trying to suppress the enemy's withering fire.

Shot again in the thigh, Benavidez administered first aid to the wounded soldiers until Medivac choppers were able to land. Benavidez then carried the wounded to the helicopter. He made a second trip for wounded and he was clubbed from behind and he became involved in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy whom he subsequently killed.

Benavidez continued to carry wounded to the shopper. 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.


13 years after the incident Benavidez was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Ronald Reagan, for actions during the Viet Nam conflict.

Benavidez died in El Campo, Texas 1999

Benavidez, a native Texan, was born 5 August 1935.

Don Abele
07-25-2008, 7:52 PM
Cliff, I remember this one quite clearly (mainly because there's a book about him and a Navy ship named after him). It's an amazing story of heroism (though I'm sure he'd just say he was doing his job).

After the CONSTITUTION hosted 79 of the 111 living Medal of Honor Recipients two years ago for a MoH Flag presentation, I bought the book: "Medal of Honor, Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty." It's an amazing book that I couldn't put down. It's now on the coffee table in my office.

Thank you for this inspirational account. But may I ask, Why?

Be well,


BTW: He actually died in 1998 (though many accounts say 1999, his head stone says, "Nov 29 1998".