Badass of the week: Roy P. Benavidez

Roy Benavidez was a Master Sergeant in 5th Special Forces Group, he was also attached to ARVN Advisory group on his first rotation, and a member of MAC-V SOG on his second rotation.

In 1965, Benavidez was part of an ARVN advisory group in South Vietnam when he stepped on a mine and was evacuated to the US. The doctors in the hospital told the MSG that he would never walk again. Benavidez proved them wrong by getting out of bed every night, crawling on his elbows and chin, and propped himself unaided. Wiggling his toes, then his feet to the point of tears. After months of excruciating pain and self-motivation, Benavidez walked out of the hospital and returned to Vietnam.

Upon returning to Nam, the MSG became part of MAC-V-SOG in 1968. On 2 May 1968, a 12 man SOG team was surrounded by about 1,000 NVA. They dug in and tried to hold them off, but were not going to last long. Benavidez heard their distress call over a radio and boarded a rescue helicopter with first aid equipment. He did not have time to grab a weapon, so he voluntarily jumped into the hot LZ armed only with his knife. He sprinted across 75 meters of open terrain through withering small arms and machine gun fire to reach the pinned down team. By the time he reached them, he had been shot 4 times, twice in the right leg, once through both cheeks, which knocked out four molars. He ignored these wounds and began administering first aid. The rescue chopper left as it was not designed to extract men. An extraction chopper was sent for, and Benavidez grabbed a weapon and took command of the men by directing their fire around the edges of the clearing in order to facilitate the chopper’s landing. He was wounded severely, but still carried and dragged half of the wounded men to the chopper. The enemy fire got worse, and Benavidez was hit in the left shoulder. He got back up and ran to the platoon leader, dead in the open, and retrieved classified documents. He was then shot in the abdomen, and a grenade detonated nearby peppering his back with shrapnel. The chopper pilot was mortally wounded then, and his chopper crashed. The MSG ran to the wreckage and got the wounded out of the aircraft, and arranged them into a defensive perimeter to wait for the next chopper. The NVA was building up to wipe them out, and Benavidez called in tactical air strikes and threw smoke to direct the fire of arriving gunships. Just before the extraction chopper landed, he was shot again in the left thigh while giving first aid to a wounded man. He still managed to get to his feet and carry some of the men to the chopped, directing the others, when an NVA soldier rushed from the woods and clubbed him over the head with an AK-47.

This caused a skull fracture and a deep gash to his left upper arm, and yet he still got back up and decapitated the soldier with one swing of his knife. He then resumed carrying the wounded to the chopper and returning for others, and was shot twice more in the lower back. He shot two more NVA soldiers who were trying to board the chopper, then made one last trip around the LZ to be sure all documents were retrieved, and finally boarded the chopper. He had lost 2 quarts of blood. The battle lasted six hours. He had been wounded 37 times.

He was evacuated to the base camp, examined, and thought to be dead. As he was placed in a body bag among the other dead in body bags, he was suddenly recognized by a friend who called for help. A doctor came and examined him and he too believed Benavidez was dead. The doctor was about to zipper up the bag when Benavidez managed to spit in his face (at this point his wounds were too severe to do anything else), alerting the doctor that he was still alive.

For his actions, MSG. Benavidez was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, but it was not until 1980, that one of the man who was in the six hours of hell with the MSG, provided all the eye witness accounts of Benavidez’s actions. For this, his DSC was upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

Roy Benavidez died on November 29, 1998, at the age of 63, having suffered respiratory failure and complications of diabetes. He was survived by his wife and 3 children.

What do you think?

3 points
Upvote Downvote

Total votes: 5

Upvotes: 4

Upvotes percentage: 80.000000%

Downvotes: 1

Downvotes percentage: 20.000000%

Big things

Interesting tidbits to start off the day