Legend: A Harrowing Story from the Vietnam War of One Green Beret's Heroic Mission to Rescue a Special Forces Team Caught Behind Enemy Lines Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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The unforgettable account and courageous actions of the US Army's 240th Assault Helicopter Company and Green Beret Staff Sergeant Roy Benavidez, who risked everything to rescue a Special Forces team trapped behind enemy lines.
In Legend, acclaimed best-selling author Eric Blehm takes as his canvas the Vietnam War as seen through a single mission that occurred on May 2, 1968. A 12-man Special Forces team had been covertly inserted into a small clearing in the jungles of neutral Cambodia - where US 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 materiel 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. Orphaned at the age of seven, Benavidez had picked cotton alongside his family as a child and dropped out of school as a teen before joining the army. Although he was grievously wounded during his first tour of duty in Vietnam and told he would never walk again, Benavidez fought his way back - ultimately earning his green beret.
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 withering 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.
Written with extensive access to family members, surviving members of the 240th Assault Helicopter Company, on-the-ground eyewitness accounts never before published, as well as recently discovered archival and declassified military records, Blehm has created a riveting narrative both of Roy Benavidez's life and career and of the inspiring, almost unbelievable events that defined the brotherhood of the air and ground warriors in an unpopular war halfway around the world. Legend recounts the courage and commitment of those who fought in Vietnam in service of their country and the story of one of the many unsung heroes of the war, whose actions would be scrutinized for more than a decade in a battle for a long overdue and what many believe was an unjustly denied Medal of Honor.
The case was reopened 13 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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|Listening Length||9 hours and 9 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||April 28, 2015|
|Publisher||Random House Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #15,836 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#6 in Vietnam War Biographies (Audible Books & Originals)
#13 in Vietnam War
#35 in Special Forces Military History
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Choppers are crashing and crews dying in the many attempt to reach the beleaguered troops. The action Roy takes is beyond belief and readers will be awed by his calmness and determination to get everybody back to safety. The story continues to describe the rest of the battle and their eventual evacuation from the LZ. Only a few survived. Benavidez was tagged in triage and left with the other dead bodies stacked outside of the hospital because of so much damage to his body. Miraculously, he garnered enough strength and fortitude to spit at the orderly who almost finished zippering him up in a black body bag. When discovering that Roy was alive, they rushed to save his life. He spent over a year convalescing from his injuries, and remained in San Antonio to be close to his family. Afterward, he continued in active service in the Army until his eventual retirement.
Roy deserved the Medal of Honor for his actions that day, however, his involvement in Cambodia was top secret, and instead, the Dept. of the Army awarded him the Distinguished Service Cross - a step below the MOH. SF soldiers were sworn to secrecy and agreed not to expose anything about their missions or locations for thirty years. The penalty for doing so is a dishonorable discharge, large fine and imprisonment.
Ten years later, those who survived the battle wrote reports that detailed Roy's actions during that fateful day in hopes of reversing the decision regarding Roy's MOH, yet the Army refused to upgrade it. Others continued the effort and when an eye witness came forward - one who Roy thought perished and vice-versa, and his testimony tipped the scales. The MOH was awarded for his actions in a battle west of a town in South Vietnam and Cambodia was not inferred.
This is a great read with a lot of detail of the actual events. Roy was quoted in the book, "that day was filled with heroes, all trying very hard to save this team, unfortunately, many of them did not survive the battle." The last third of the book will keep you reading until the end! RIP Roy Benavidez! Thank you Eric Blehm for a great story!
John Podlaski, author
'Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel' and 'When Can I Stop Running?'
Since I'm not in the military, I really appreciated Eric Blehm's definitions/explanations of many of the oft-used military acronyms throughout the book. I was also impressed with the many photographs and the maps shown.
I had heard parts of the story of this mission many times from the mouths of those involved, but I had never heard many of the details that Eric Blehm was able to uncover & piece together. I now have a much greater understanding of the events overall.
The first part of the book covers Roy's hardscrabble childhood in Texas. It tells about his family and the morals and patriotism which were instilled in him throughout his younger years. I feel this part of the book was important as it tells how the man was formed.
The second section transitions into his military career and then focuses on his actions as a Green Beret during the May 2, 1968 mission for which he was eventually awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor - the USA's highest military honor.
I was completely riveted while reading about this mission. It's gripping, terrifying, thrilling, frustrating, tragic and more. Eric Blehm did an outstanding job in clarifying what occurred and thoroughly compiling all of the historic records/current interviews/previous books into a highly readable, edge-of-your-seat story. This novel should be made into a MOVIE!
The final section of the book outlines the years-long struggle many people went through to ensure Roy was appropriately thanked and honored for his actions and hints at why it took so long for Roy to finally receive the MoH. It also serves as a sort of epilogue telling what happened to many of the individuals in the years following the mission. I'm so glad that was included.
This story needed to be told. It still needs to be told. READ IT, TELL THE STORY to your children (at an age-appropriate level, of course), tell your friends and family. Let's re-ignite patriotism like Roy was always able to do.
One last thing. Thank you to all who have served our country.
However, the author of this book really did a lot of heavy research and it seems like he had the freedom to publish information that was previously considered classified. It really takes you deep into the technical aspects of how extremely dangerous and complex missions are run in the special operations communities.
The book does get a bit heavy at times with the timelines of the missions. I had to write names down on a separate piece of paper, so that I could keep up with the many players and aspects of the missions; who was who, who did what, etc. The provided maps are really needed for the reader to understand the information the author presents, which can be overwhelming and dense from a technical standpoint.
It is really an excellent book. Quite frankly I am surprised this story has not being picked up for a movie. It is extremely moving from a personal point of view and it provides an incredible amount of light about many aspects of the Vietnam war that many people are probably still unaware of after so many decades.