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Thread: Un Hombre Duro

  1. #1
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    Default Un Hombre Duro

    U.S. Army Master Sergeant Raul (Roy) Perez Benavidez, received the Medal of Honor for a series of daring and extremely valorous actions during the Vietnam War in 1968.

    Benavidez was born on 5 August 1935, in Lindenau, Texas. He enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard in 1952 during the Korean War and in June 1955 transitioned to active duty Army. In 1959, he completed airborne training and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

    On the morning of 2 May 1968, a 12-man Special Forces reconnaissance team was inserted by helicopters into a dense jungle area west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam, to gather intelligence information about confirmed large-scale enemy activity. The area was controlled and routinely patrolled by the North Vietnamese army. After a short period on the ground, the team met heavy enemy resistance, and requested emergency extraction. Three helicopters attempted extraction, but were unable to land due to intense enemy small arms and anti-aircraft fire.

    While assigned to Detachment B56, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, Republic of Vietnam, Benavidez was at a forward operating base in Loc Ninh monitoring the operation by radio when the helicopters, who attempted the extraction, returned to off-load wounded crewmembers and to assess aircraft damage. Benavidez voluntarily boarded a returning aircraft in order to assist in another extraction attempt. Realizing that all the team members were either dead or wounded and unable to move to the pickup zone, he directed the aircraft to a nearby clearing where he jumped from the hovering helicopter and ran approximately 75 meters under heavy small arms fire to the crippled team.

    Prior to reaching the team's position, he was wounded in his right leg, face and head. Despite his injuries, Benavidez took charge, repositioning the team members and directing their fire to facilitate the landing of an extraction aircraft and the loading of wounded and dead team members. He then threw smoke canisters to direct the aircraft to the team's position. Despite his severe wounds and under intense enemy fire, he carried and dragged half of the wounded team members to the awaiting aircraft. He then provided protective fire by running alongside the aircraft as it moved to pick up the remaining team members. As the enemy's fire intensified, he hurried to recover the body and classified documents on the dead team leader.

    When he reached the leader's body, 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 his helicopter crashed. Although in extremely critical condition due to his multiple wounds, Benavidez secured the classified documents and made his way back to the wreckage, where he aided the wounded out of the overturned aircraft and gathered the stunned survivors into a defensive perimeter. Under increasing enemy automatic weapons and grenade fire, he moved around the perimeter distributing water and ammunition to the men. Facing a buildup of enemy opposition with a beleaguered team, Benavidez mustered his strength, began calling in tactical air strikes and directed the fire from supporting gunships to suppress the enemy's fire in order to permit another extraction attempt.

    He was wounded again in his thigh by small arms fire while administering first aid to a wounded team member just before another extraction helicopter was able to land. He began to ferry the troops to the aircraft and on his second trip with the wounded, he was clubbed from behind by an enemy soldier. In the ensuing hand-to-hand combat, he sustained additional wounds to his head and arms before killing the enemy. He then continued under fire to carry the wounded to the helicopter. Upon reaching the aircraft, he spotted and killed two enemy soldiers who were rushing the helicopter from an angle that prevented the door gunner from firing upon them. With little strength remaining, he made one last trip to the perimeter to ensure that all classified material had been collected or destroyed and to bring in the remaining wounded. Only then did he allow himself to be pulled into the extraction aircraft. Benavidez’s actions saved the lives of at least eight men.

    During the six hours of continuous operations, Benavidez suffered a broken jaw and 37 bullet and bayonet puncture wounds. He was so mauled that his commanding officer did not believe he would live long enough to receive the Medal of Honor, so he nominated him for the Distinguished Service Cross instead, because the No. 2 award would take less time to process. However, Benavidez survived, and received the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC).

    Years later, General William C. Westmoreland, who had awarded Benavidez the DSC, learned details of Benavidez’s heroics. He then nominated him for upgrade to the Medal of Honor. Benavidez received the medal in 1981 from President Ronald Reagan during a White House ceremony.

    In addition to the Medal of Honor, Benavidez received the Purple Heart and numerous other awards throughout his magnificent career. Benavidez passed away on 29 November 1998. He is interred at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.

    Story by Naval History & Heritage
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Un Hombre Duro

    An admirable level of uncommon valor.

    All in aid of a perverse and hysterical spasm of national madness.
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Thumbs up Re: Un Hombre Duro

    Wow!

    Keep calm, persistence beats resistance.

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    Default Re: Un Hombre Duro

    So many of the WW2 and after MOH awards were for rescues and protection of other soldiers. Not for vainglorious charges into enemy strongholds.
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    Default Re: Un Hombre Duro

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bow View Post
    Not for vainglorious charges into enemy strongholds.
    read some of the flamethrower attributions
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Un Hombre Duro

    CORPORAL HERSHEL W. WILLIAMS
    UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

    the last living medal of honor recipient from wwii

    For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Demolition Sergeant serving with the First Battalion, Twenty-First Marines, Third Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Island, 23 February 1945. Quick to volunteer his services when our tanks were maneuvering vainly to open a lane for the infantry through the network of reinforced concrete pillboxes, buried mines and black, volcanic sands, Corporal Williams daringly went forward alone to attempt the reduction of devastating machine-gun fire from the unyielding positions. Covered only by four riflemen, he fought desperately for four hours under terrific enemy small-arms fire and repeatedly returned to his own lines to prepare demolition charges and obtain serviced flame throwers, struggling back, frequently to the rear of hostile emplacements, to wipe out one position after another. On one occasion he daringly mounted a pillbox to insert the nozzle of his flame thrower through the air vent, kill the occupants and silence the gun; on another he grimly charged enemy riflemen who attempted to stop him with bayonets and destroyed them with a burst of flame from his weapon. His unyielding determination and extraordinary heroism in the face of ruthless enemy resistance were directly instrumental in neutralizing one of the most fanatically defended Japanese strong points encountered by his regiment and aided in enabling his company to reach its' [sic] objective. Corporal Williams' aggressive fighting spirit and valiant devotion to duty throughout this fiercely contested action sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.[8]]
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    This image is of Lt. Rick Rescorla, an Army infantry officer who was photographed as he fixed his bayonet in the Ia Drang Valley in 1965. The image graced the cover of the first edition of the book, We Were Soldiers Once and Young, written by Lt. Gen. Hal Moore and Joe Galloway.



    Rescorla would earn a Silver Star and Purple Heart and other awards, surviving the famously fierce battle. During battles, he was known for singing battle hymns which helped calm those around him. He went on to serve in the Army Reserve until his retirement as a colonel in the 1990s.

    On Sept. 11, 2001, Rescorla was a director of security in the south tower of the World Trade Center. After the aircraft hit, Rescorla went up into the towers to help people evacuate. Evacuees who were helped by Rescorla said that through the smoke they could hear a man singing so they followed the sound which led them to Rescorla. He directed them to safety, down and out of the building.

    He is credited with saving more than 2,700 lives. He was last seen climbing higher into the towers with his security team to help those that were trapped in the higher floors who still needed help. His body was never found.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

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    Default Re: Un Hombre Duro

    'The Man Who Predicted 9/11' is an excellent documentary on rick rescorla
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Un Hombre Duro

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    'The Man Who Predicted 9/11' is an excellent documentary on rick rescorla

    I didn't know he was a Cornishman, and started with the Parachute Regiment. Or that he wasn't singing hymns... he was singing Cornish Folk songs.

    Rescorla had boosted morale among his men in Vietnam by singing Cornish songs from his youth, and now he did the same in the stairwell, singing songs such as one based on the Welsh song "Men of Harlech":

    "Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming, Can't you see their spearpoints gleaming?
    See their warriors' pennants streaming, To this battlefield.
    Men of Cornwall stand ye steady, It cannot be ever said ye
    For the battle were not ready. Stand and never yield!"

    Between songs, Rescorla called his wife, telling her, "Stop crying. I have to get these people out safely. If something should happen to me, I want you to know I've never been happier. You made my life." After successfully evacuating most of Morgan Stanley's 2,700 employees, he went back into the building. When one of his colleagues told him he too had to evacuate the World Trade Center, Rescorla replied, "As soon as I make sure everyone else is out." He was last seen on the 10th floor, heading upward, shortly before the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 A.M. His remains were never found. Rescorla was declared dead three weeks after the attacks.
    Last edited by Nicholas Carey; 09-19-2021 at 02:20 PM.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Un Hombre Duro

    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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