Thursday, May 21, 2015

Great Guest for Memorial Day

By Eric Blehm

On this Memorial Day, we remember our fallen heroes along with Eric Blehm who has dedicated his career to telling the stories that honor the legacies of those who serve. Each book he has written is a memorial that honors those in the stories who have paid the ultimate sacrifice - from The Only Thing Worth Dying For, about the first Special Forces Team to infiltrate the Taliban held Southern Afghanistan after 9/11; to Fearless, the story of SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown who overcame drug addiction and a life of crime to ultimately join the Navy and rise to the highest level of Seal Team Six; to his newest book LEGEND, that now, forty years after the Fall of Saigon, tells the story of the 240th Assault Helicopter Company, and Medal of Honor Recipient, Special Forces Master Sergeant Roy P. Benavidez.

In his new book LEGEND, Blehm recounts the harrowing, true story of another warrior: Sergeant Roy P. Benavidez, the legendary Green Beret who fought through more than thirty bullet, bayonet and shrapnel wounds to rescue his fellow soldiers in a now-declassified battle that continues to inspire new generations of heroes. It is the unforgettable account and courageous actions of the U.S. Army's 240th Assault Helicopter Company and Green Beret Staff Sergeant who risked everything to rescue a Special Forces team trapped behind enemy lines.

In LEGEND, acclaimed bestselling author Eric Blehm takes as his canvas the Vietnam War, as seen through a single mission that occurred on May 2, 1968. A twelve-man Special Forces team had been covertly inserted into a small clearing in the jungles of neutral Cambodia where U.S. forces were forbidden to operate. Their objective, just miles over the Vietnam border, was to collect evidence that proved the North Vietnamese Army was using the Cambodian sanctuary as a major conduit for supplying troops and material to the south via the Ho Chi Minh Trail. What the team didn't know was that they had infiltrated a section of jungle that concealed a major enemy base. Soon they found themselves surrounded by hundreds of NVA, under attack, low on ammunition, stacking the bodies of the dead as cover in a desperate attempt to survive the onslaught. When Special Forces Staff Sergeant Roy Benavidez heard the distress call, he jumped aboard the next helicopter bound for the combat zone without hesitation.

What followed would become legend in the Special Operations community. Flown into the foray of battle by the courageous pilots and crew of the 240th Assault Helicopter Company, Benavidez jumped from the hovering aircraft and ran nearly 100 yards through enemy fire. Despite being immediately and severely wounded, Benavidez reached the perimeter of the decimated team, provided medical care, and proceeded to organize an extraordinary defense and rescue. During the hours-long battle, he was bayoneted, shot, and hit by grenade shrapnel more than thirty times, yet he refused to abandon his efforts until every survivor was out of harm's way.

The case was reopened thirteen years later, in 1980, when a long lost - and believed dead - Green Beret eyewitness whom Benavidez had rescued that day, came forth and wrote a statement that revealed, once and for all, what happened on that fateful day in May of 1968.

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