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Veterans Push To Rename Confederate Fort Hood After Mexican American War Hero

Culture & Community By O. DELGADO
Veterans Push To Rename Confederate Fort Hood After Mexican American War Hero

Roy Benavidez received five Purple Hearts and the Medal of Honor for his valor and heroism.

Veterans push to rename Confederate Fort Hood after legendary Medal of Honor recipient, Roy Benavidez, who jumped from a helicopter to save an entire patrol surrounded by enemies. He was shot and stabbed so many times, they were zipping him into a body bag when he spit to show them he was still alive.

Trump says he "will not even consider" it.

Veterans in Texas have joined forces with the League of United Latin American Citizens to push for renaming Fort Hood, currently named for a Confederate General, after legendary Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient, Roy Benavidez.

Benavidez, descendant of the founders of Benavides, Texas, was born in Lindenau to Mexican farmer, Salvador Benavidez, Jr., and Yaqui Indian mother, Teresa Perez. 

Young Benavidez shined shoes and worked at a tire shop before dropping out of school at 15 to work fulltime to help support his family.

Benavidez joined the National Guard during the Korean War, then was accepted into the army's elite Special Forces and sent to Vietnam.

...where he stepped on a landmine and was told he would never walk again.

He did.

After a year of excruciating training, he walked out of the hospital - and returned to Vietnam.

6 Hours In Hell

On May 2nd, 1968, a 12-man Special Forces patrol was surrounded by 1,000 enemy combatants. Benavidez heard the radioed call for help and immediately boarded a helicopter.

Armed with only a knife and his medical bag, Benavidez jumped 30 feet to the ground from the hovering helicopter and ran 75 meters through gunfire to get to the trapped and wounded soldiers, getting hit in the face, head, and leg. As he dragged wounded men back to the helicopter, he took a grenade to the back, and, just before the helicopter took off, he was shot in the gut.

Then, the helicopter crashed. 

Despite his numerous wounds, Benavidez ran to the crashed helicopter, rescued the same soldiers from the wreckage, and called in airstrikes to push back the enemy. On his way to the backup helicopter, he managed to kill an attacking enemy soldier in hand-to-hand combat, but not before being shot again in the thigh and bayoneted in both arms.

By the time they returned to base, he had lost so much blood, he was assumed dead. As he was being zipped into a body bag, he had just enough strength left to spit to show that he was still alive.

He had rescued 8 men.

But Benavidez didn't receive the Medal of Honor right away. The Army Decorations Board initially denied him the medal because too much time had passed between the events and his nomination. The board required a witness, but Benavidez believed them all to have died in combat.

Fortunately, one man was still alive, Brian O'Conner, former radioman for Benavidez' Special Forces team.

O'Conner had been so badly wounded that Benavidez believed him dead. But, Brian was alive and well and vacationing in Australia when he read about Benavidez in the paper and immediately sent the board a ten-page account of what happened that day.

Roy Benavidez finally received the Medal of Honor on February 24th, 1981. It was presented by President Reagan, who afterward turned to the press and said:

"If the story of his heroism were a movie script, you would not believe it."

Fort Hood is named after Confederate General John Bell Hood, who resigned his commission in the U.S. Army to fight against it.

Hood was not only a traitor, he was incompetent. According to the Washington Post, "his 'reckless' command hastened the fall of Atlanta," and his losses at the Battle of Franklin were "disastrous."

Despite this, President Donald Trump says he will "not even consider" renaming any of the bases named after Confederate leaders, tweeting that, "These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom."

Trump may not be aware, but the Confederacy was fighting to keep human being enslaved - and they lost.