A Soldier's Story: Master Sergeant Raul Perez "Roy" Benavidez

Master Sergeant Raul Perez "Roy" Benavidez on August 5, 1935, in Lindenau, Texas. His parents died while he was young from tuberculosis (His father when he was two, his mother when he was seven). Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez and his younger brother were raised in El Campo, Texas, by his grandfather, uncle, and aunt.

Dropping out of school early, Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez worked shining shoes as a farmhand and tire repairman to help support his family.

Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard in 1952, converting to active U.S. Army in 1955, completing Airborne and Special Forces (Green Beret) training at Fort Bragg.

Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez deployed to the Vietnam War first in 1965 as an advisor to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. During that tour, he stepped on a landmine and was told he would never walk again. He spent a year in the hospital, training at night, in secret, until he walked out of the hospital and returned to active duty. Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez was redeployed to the Vietnam War in January 1968.

He earned a Congressional Medal of Honor on May 2, 1968, when, during a helicopter rescue of a surrounded patrol (in which the helicopter crashed), Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez spent the next "six hours in hell" as he defended his position and rendered aid. He was so hurt (seven gunshots, 28 shrapnel holes, and bayonet stab wounds) that he was mistaken for dead until he spat into a doctor's face while they were zipping up his body bag.

Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez spent another year in the hospital recovering before returning to active duty.

He retired from the U.S. Army in 1976, where he lectured to youth and authored three books. He died on November 29, 1998.

Hasbro has made a GI Joe commemorative action figure in his honor.


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at www.takethebackroads.com, you can also read her book reviews at www.riteoffancy.com and US military biographies at www.everydaypatriot.com

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