Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez (August 5, 1935 - November 29, 1998) was born on a farm near Cuero, Texas. He lost both parents before the age of 8. At the age of 19 Benavidez joined the US army. In 1965 he was sent to South Vietnam where he was wounded during a patrol, doctors told him he would never walk again. Despite serious injury to his spine, Benavidez walked out of the hospital in July 1966 and returned to Vietnam. He heard a call from 12 men under attack from the North Vietnamese Army, he volunteered to go with one of the helicopter pilots to rescue the soldiers. Armed only with a knife and bag of medical supplies he jumped from the helicopter to join the trapped soldiers. Through his actions and his refusal to be stopped and despite numerous severe wounds, he saved the lives of at least eight men. For his heroism he received two purple hearts and a Distinguished Service Cross. On February 24, 1981, President Ronald Reagan presented Roy P. Benavidez the Medal of Honor. After retiring from the military he worked to defend disability benefits for wounded soldiers and devoted his remaining years to speaking to children about the importance of staying in school and getting an education.
Books by Master Sergeant Benavidez are available at Milwaukee Public Library. Click here to view the titles.