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(Inside of Dedication program)
Master Sergeant Roy P. Benavidez, a former Green Beret, received the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Ronald Reagan for heroism during the Vietnam War. In recognition of Msgt. Benavidez's exceptional accomplishment, the Colorado Springs Chapter of the American G.I. Forum suggested that a city park be named for him.
On the morning of May 2, 1968, Benavidez, a staff sergeant with the Army's Green Berets, heard the cry "get us out of here" over his unit's radio in Loc Ninh, South Vietnam. The call for aid came from a 12-man Special Forces team - 3 Green Berets and 9 Montagnard tribesmen - that had been ambushed by North Vietnamese troops at a jungle site a few miles inside Cambodia. Benavidez jumped aboard an evacuation helicopter that flew to the scene and spent the next six hours "in hell", he later recalled.
Realizing that all his 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 helicopter and ran approximately 75 meters under fire to the crippled team. Despite wounds in his right leg, face and head he carried and dragged half of the wounded team members to the waiting aircraft. He then provided protective fire by running alongside the aircraft as it moved to pick up classified documents from the dead team leader. In this action Benavidez was severely wounded in the abdomen and sustained grenade fragments in his back.
Under increasing automatic weapons and grenade fire, he moved around to the weary men distributing water and ammunition and helping to instill in them the will to fight and live. His indomitable spirit kept them going as he began to ferry his comrades, to the craft. On his second trip with the wounded, an enemy soldier clubbed him from behind. In this hand-to-hand combat he sustained more wounds to his head and arms before killing his adversary. He continued under devastating fire to carry the wounded to the helicopter. He made one last trip to the perimeter to ensure that all classified materials had been collected or destroyed. Only then, in extremely serious condition from multiple wounds and loss of blood, did he allow himself to be pulled into the extraction aircraft.
President Ronald Reagan presented the Congressional Medal of Honor to Benavidez at the Pentagon on February 24, 1981.
Born in south Texas, the son of a sharecropper, Benavidez was orphaned as a youngster. He went to live with an uncle, but dropped out of school to work. He joined the Army at 19, went to airborne school and then became a Green Beret. He was on his second Vietnam tour when he carried out this rescue mission.
Msgt. Roy P. Benavidez Park
June 16, 2001 10:00 to 11:00 A.M.
Color Guard10th Special Forces Group, Fort Carson
Galaxy BrassThe United States Air Force Band of the Rockies
Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services