Six Hours in Hell
On May 2, 1968, a 12-man Special Forces patrol, which included nine Montagnard tribesmen, was surrounded by an NVA (North Vietnamese Army) infantry battalion of about 1,000 men. Benavidez heard the radio appeal for help and boarded a helicopter to respond. Armed only with a knife, he jumped from the helicopter carrying his medical bag and ran to help the trapped patrol. Benavidez "distinguished himself by a series of daring and extremely valorous actions... and because of his gallant choice to join voluntarily his comrades who were in critical straits, to expose himself constantly to withering enemy fire, and his refusal to be stopped despite numerous severe wounds, saved the lives of at least eight men." At one point in the battle an NVA soldier accosted him and stabbed him with his bayonet. Benavidez pulled it out, yanked out his own knife, killed him and kept going, leaving his knife in the NVA soldier's body. After the battle, 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 but believed Benavidez was dead. The doctor was about to zip up the body bag when Benavidez managed to spit in his face, alerting the doctor that he was alive. Benavidez had a total of 37 separate bullet, bayonet, and shrapnel wounds from the six-hour fight with the enemy battalion.
On February 24, 1981, President Ronald Reagan presented Roy P. Benavidez with the Medal of Honor. Reagan turned to the press and said, "If the story of his heroism were a movie script, you would not believe it.
Thank you Benavidez for your heroism, your selfless sacrifices you made in Vietnam shall never be forgotten. Rest in Peace! 👼🇺🇸
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