25 February 2011

"If the story of his heroism were a movie script, you would not believe it"

In 1952, during the Korean War, Roy Benavidez enlisted the Texas Army National Guard and later, in June 1955, in the regular United States Army. Benavidez deployed to Vietnam in 1965 with the 82nd Airborne Division as an advisor to an ARVN infantry regiment. He stepped on a land mine during a patrol and was medically evacuated to the United States, where doctors at Brooke Army Medical Center thought he would never walk again. Despite serious injury to his spine, Benavidez walked out of the hospital in July 1966.

Benavidez returned to Fort Bragg to begin training for the Studies and Observations Group (SOG). Despite constant pain from his injuries, he became a Master Sergeant in the 5th Special Forces Group and returned to South Vietnam in January 1968.

On February 24, 1981, President Ronald Reagan presented Roy Benavidez the Medal of Honor for his actions in combat near Loc Ninh, Vietnam on May 2, 1968.

Over the radio at his unit's base that morning, Benavidez had heard the cry "get us out of here!" with so much shooting in the background "it sounded like a popcorn machine."

Reagan reportedly turned to the press and said: "If the story of his heroism were a movie script, you would not believe it". He then read the official award citation.

Roy Benavidez died on November 29, 1998 at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. He was 63.

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