"Above the Best"
Army Aviation Hall of Fame 2004 Induction
SSG Roy P. Benavidez saved a Special Forces unit in Vietnam in spite of a broken jaw, 37 bullet wounds and bayonet puncture wounds while assigned to Detachment B56, 5th Special Forces Group.
On May 2, 1968, a 12-man Special Forces reconnaissance team was inserted by helicopters in a dense jungle area west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam. The team met heavy enemy resistance, and requested emergency extraction. Three helicopters attempted extraction, but were unable to land due to intense enemy fire. Benavidez volunteered to assist in another extraction attempt. He jumped from the hovering helicopter, and ran approximately 75 meters under withering small arms fire to the crippled team.
Despite severe wounds and under intense enemy fire, he carried and dragged half of the wounded team members to the awaiting aircraft. Benavidez was severely wounded by small arms fire in the abdomen and grenade fragments in his back. At nearly the same moment, the aircraft pilot was mortally wounded, and the helicopter crashed. Benavidez made his way back to the wreckage and helped the wounded out of the overturned aircraft and formed a defensive perimeter. He was wounded again just before another extraction helicopter landed.
Upon reaching the aircraft, Benavidez spotted and killed two more enemy soldiers. With little strength left, he made one last trip to bring in the remaining wounded. Only then, in extremely serious condition from numerous wounds and loss of blood, did he allow himself to be pulled into the extraction aircraft. His refusal to be stopped despite numerous severe wounds saved the lives of at least eight men. He received the Medal of Honor for these actions. SSGT Beneavidez died after a long illness in 1998.