Master Sergeant Roy P. Benavidez was shot 37 times, stabbed and put in a body bag after rescuing a patrol of Special Forces men from a 1000 man NVA battalion. He was so wounded and hurt that when the doctors started zipping up the body bag, he could only spit in the doctor’s face to let them know he was still alive.

Before saving the Special Forces patrol from certain doom, he had done a previous tour in Vietnam where on patrol he stepped on a land mine and was told he would never walk again. After sneaking out of bed for over a year in the hospital, he taught himself how to walk leaning up against the wall every night, against doctor's orders. In one year he walked out of the hospital with his wife on his arm, to everyone's amazement. Eager to get back in the fight, he flew back to Vietnam for another tour. He heard on the radio about a Special Forces team under fire with casualties and managed to convince a helicopter pilot to fly him to rescue them. At this point he had only a knife and a medical bag.

Roy survived the war but had medical issues for the rest of his life. His children would comment on the odd occurrence of their dad pulling a piece of shrapnel out of his skin now and then and throwing it across the room where it made a click as it hit something. Roy was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

It takes valor to save others at risk to yourself. It takes valor to teach yourself how to walk again when everyone says you will fail. Thank you Roy for the lessons you taught us, and thank you for your service.

Links to his story:

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