It’s May 2, 1968, and a patrol of 12 U.S. Special Forces men are in deadly trouble near a place called Loc Ninh in southern Vietnam. They’re surrounded by thick jungle and up to 1,000 North Vietnamese Army soldiers and they’re under sustained attack. The only way to get them out is by helicopter. Staff Sergeant Roy Benavidez jumps aboard the rescue chopper. Little does he know that ahead of him lies six hours of hell on Earth.
Raul Perez “Roy” Benavidez was born in August 1935 in Lindenau, Texas. His Mexican American father Salvador was a sharecropper and his mother Teresa Perez was a Yaqui Indian. Both Benavidez’s parents died prematurely from tuberculosis – Salvador when Benavidez was two and Teresa five years later. Roy was raised by relatives in El Campo, Texas.
Benavidez dropped out of school at just 15 years old to help take care of his poverty-stricken family. After a series of menial jobs including farm laboring and shoe shining, he joined the Texas Army National Guard in 1952 when he was 17. In 1955 Benavidez signed up with the U.S. Army and saw service in both occupied Germany and in South Korea.