Memorial park should be upgraded
By the Advocate Editorial Board
Oct. 10, 2011 at 5:10 a.m.
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration presented by the U.S. government. Only about 85 of the 3,450 recipients are alive today, according to the medal's official website: cmohs.org.
These military personnel achieved their medals because of the exceptional valor they showed in action against enemy forces.
And among them was Master Sgt. Roy P. Benavidez of Cuero. Benavidez, who died in November 1998 in El Campo where he lived, received his medal for actions in Vietnam from President Ronald Reagan in 1981.
Now, efforts to improve the Roy P. Benavidez Memorial Park in Cuero, where he was born, are being made. And we encourage all to help in this endeavor.
During the Vietnam War, Benavidez had been assigned to Detachment B-56, Fifth Special Forces Group (Airborne). While on assignment, a 12-man reconnaissance team came under fire in western Vietnam/eastern Cambodia. After three helicopters failed to extract the team, Benavidez volunteered to take another helicopter in to rescue the crippled team.
Benavidez was shot in his right leg, face and hands, yet he dragged or lifted the dead and wounded to helicopters. He also recovered classified information from the team's dead leader, and while he was recovering other secret documents, he was shot in the abdomen and back.
Then the rescue helicopter was hit, and it crashed. Amazingly, Benavidez continued his heroism by extracting the wounded from the downed aircraft. He created a perimeter and he and the other wounded fought off the attackers. He called for air strikes and another helicopter. Once more, he was shot - this time in the thigh, but he was the one to help his fellow soldiers with medical aid.
Again, he began carrying the wounded to a helicopter. During one of these trips, he was clubbed from behind and he engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy, who he managed to kill. He then continued to carry the wounded to the waiting aircraft. When all of the wounded were aboard, he finally allowed someone to help him with his wounds.
We think we owe this man and his family the best memorial possible. Not enough praise and thanks can be extended for his valor and heroism.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.