The unforgettable account and courageous actions of the U.S. 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 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 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 them¬selves surrounded by hundreds of NVA troops, under attack, low on ammunition, and 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 proceed¬ed 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 story of what Sgt. Roy Benavidez did, is truly amazing and one of the greatest acts of courage under fire that I have read. But his heroics is just part of a great book that not only chronicles his life, but is also about the Studies and Observations Group in Vietnam that "went over the wire" into Cambodia to track and fight the North Vietnamese on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Highly recommended!!
This is the incredible and heroic story of Roy Benevidez and ultimately the service he and his fellow soldiers, gave to their country during the Vietnam War. During an engagement on the wrong side of the Cambodian border Roy volunteers, on instinct, to go into a no win situation and do what ever he can. “If someone needs help, you help them”, was something his Uncle taught him and that he always followed, and in this case it results in some f the most courageous and selfless actions one could ever hope/fear to read about on the battlefield.
We learn about his harsh upbringing. Losing his father, then being abandoned by a step father after his mother also passed resulted in his Uncle taking him and his brother in. Working in the fields and contributing where he could he learnt what is it was to be proud of his family name and have something to live up to. It is a really interesting discovery of Roy’s character and at no time did I find myself thinking “Come on get to the action” as I sometimes do with military non fiction like this.
One thing that struck me when looking at the photos was how incredibly young they all are. These kids being given the awesome responsibility of flying helicopters in and out or war zones, killing people just like themselves, it just blows the mind what brave and promising young men these were and what a waste it was to lose them so cheaply.
It is very well written and I give kudos to Blehm for pacing and arranging things, and bring the characters to life in such a manner that they don’t all blend into one band of brothers.
Legend will leave you breathless and thankful for the sacrifice of these incredible human beings.
This book was provided to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review
I received this book as a Goodreads First reads give away,I was intrigued by the story of Sergeant Roy Benavidez.Roy cane from humble beginnings and wanted to be a soldier,After reaching his goal he was quick tempered as he was as a adolescent,Got in to some trouble and survived it,He took as his personal motto the U.S.M.A.Motto Duty,Honor,Country! He survived Airborne training and gained the coveted Green Beret.After being severely wounded on his first tour in Vietnam he eventually returned to Vietnam and passed into legend.Roy's true bravery and selfless courage are the standards Special forces known for,weather Ranger, Seal,Marine,SaS and countless others around the globe.I won't tell more of the story read it your self you won't regret it !!
“If someone needs help, you help them.” This life motto motivated an unarmed Sgt. Roy Benavidez to hop into a refueled and rearmed helicopter and jump into a seemingly hopeless firefight. With only his knife and a medic’s bag, he literally did jump from the helicopter to assist and encourage the surviving members of a 12-man insertion team working covertly on the wrong side of the Vietnam-Cambodia border. The rest of the story must be read in Eric Blehm’s well-researched and respectfully written book. Though his fabulous work about Adam Brown, “Fearless”, will always remain my favorite of his writings, “Legend” did not disappoint, and I am once again greatly buoyed by the courage, loyalty, and honor of such humble soldiers.
Roy Benavidez most certainly deserved the Congressional Medal of Honor. He also deserved to have an author like Eric Blehm write this book. This author meticulously researches his topics and presents his stories with accuracy and compassion. He let us get to know Roy as a son, husband, father and green beret.
Roy's philosophy in life was as simple as, "When someone needs help you help them." His service to our country was rooted in his dedication to his fellow comrades. His humility, determination and fearlessness were admirable on many levels. His significant personal injuries never dulled his desire to get back into the action. He was willing to do whatever it took to serve those who needed him.
That said, I did not enjoy reading this book, not one bit. The combat and missions were detailed, brutal and and took a kind of courage that I'm not able to envision. The horrible ground combat on uncertain terrain where you weren't sure who was on your side and where the next shot or bomb would come from is the stuff of nightmares. I don't think Blehm wrote this book for me to enjoy. I believe he wrote it to disabuse me of my sanitized version of war. It worked, probably more than any other Viet Nam book that I've tackled. I'm going to contact a VN veteran whom I respect to see if he is able to read books like this--about events similar to those that he endured in combat.
Legend, an incredible story about war and the courage of Roy Benavidez. [4.5/5 stars]
'The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend - Aristotle'
When Benavidez thinks he has nowhere to go, his parents both gone, he goes to live with the Benavidez-family. His uncle teaches him (and the reader) some very valuable life-lessons, such as: 'If someone needs help, you help them.' or 'No matter what you do, always try to be the very best.' Roy Benavidez quits school and decides to join the army, like he always wanted. Every time he had to work in the cotton fields, he pretends to be a soldier. We read about the first adventures and struggles as he tries to achieve his dream; being a paratrooper. Although he has some major setbacks, he eventually becomes a Green Beret-
Fighting soldiers from the sky Fearless men who jump and die Men who mean just what they say The brave men of the Green Beret
Next, we are reading about May 2, 1968. This is probably the most important part of the story as Benavidez voluntarily joins a bloodbath in Cambodia. He intends to save the team who was already there for a couple hours, because the previous extraction failed and helicopters had crashed. Can he save the remaining men of the team? Or will he die on the battlefield too?
The story switches between the story about Benavidez and information about the war in Vietnam. I was hooked from the first chapter and really enjoyed learning more about the Vietnam war. As a Dutch girl, I know almost everything there is to know about World War II, but the other wars aren't covered as much in our History lessons, so I was very curious to learn more about this. Although it sometimes felt like I was reading either a newspaper article or a History book we use at school, it was perfectly fine and it was in balance: not too much of the one and not too much of the other. This book is nothing like I read before. I found myself absorbed in the story and read it in two sittings. I was glad to find out that war wasn't romanticized as much as I expected it to be, as some other war-themed books do. I think it's good to read a book like this from time to time, because it makes you think about all the soldiers out there, all the wars that are being fought this very moment. I would for sure recommend it to anyone and I'm rating it 4.5 stars.
This book was provided to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
OK -- if there was ever a person who deserved the Congressional Medal of Honor, it would be Roy Benavides. What makes this story so compelling is that it unfolds over several hours, involves dozens of soldiers on both the ground and in helicopters and as such, the reader is drawn into turning the page to see what happens and who survives and who does not. The maps are superb.
Once the action starts in Cambodia ca. 1968, the pace does not let up. I stayed up past my bed time. The author does a good job telling the story from the point of view of the soldiers on the ground who were under an intense NVA assault, long before Benavides arrives on the scene. Kudos to the author for getting all of the eyewitness accounts and digging through the after action reports.
How could the book have been better?
1. The author should have included a Notes section to back up the quotes and scene descriptions. There was no bibliography. The absence of both is surprising and can cause one to question certain bits.
2. No effort was made (or mentioned) to find any NVA participants and get their side of the story
3.There was no analysis done at all as to whether the specific mission was worth doing, whether the whole SOG program was worth the cost, or what lessons were learned and applied. We get a story - no more, no less about one day in Cambodia, just across the South Vietnamese border.
One thing I found surprising was how straight-up the book was about the US Army individuals and systems that day. Everyone knew their job, did their job, were extremely brave, and exhibited high levels of professionalism. Exactly how one would expect a well-trained military force to be. This book does not in any way present the well-known US Army dysfunction in Vietnam. There are no ticket punchers, no drug abuse, no fragging. The ARVN soldiers who were part of the mission are selfless and skilled.
I have no reason to doubt the story - and the soldiers were Green Berets, not draftees. Readers wanting a richer depiction of the war in Vietnam should consider 'We Were Soldiers, Once and Young" (by Harold Moore; non-fiction about a day's battle in the Ia Drang Valley; "Matterhorn" by Karl Malantes (fiction) and "13th Valley" (fiction) by John Del Vecchio. And, for a truly depressing story of the US military high command - "The Generals" by Thomas Ricks.
I enjoy reading about warriors pitting themselves against extreme odds (accidentally or on purpose) and the occasional extremely brave individual who goes beyond. So often, that person, usually fighting for the fellow soldier rather than some ideology or cause, dies in the effort and is never recognized. In this case Roy Benivades, a Mexican-American Special Forces soldier in Vietnam, came back---bloodied but never broken (in spirit) despite serious injuries---and was eventually awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor. His story is inspiring. I was especially interested in the coverage of SOG activities in Cambodia, the bravery of helicopter pilots and crews, and other aspects of the war. I think it would be correct too, to see the bravery and commitment on the other side as well---often in the face of superior firepower and technology. I don't want to glorify war, but I doubt I would have had the fortitude to face these challenges.
This story is about Staff Sgt. Roy Benavidez a Green Beret who risked his own life to rescue another team that was pinned downed in Cambodia. This was time during the Vietnam War that our leaders wanted to stop the supplies that were coming in from Cambodia, during the Johnson administration. Lack of communication was just one of the problems that day. This book begins with his early life losing both parents and being taken in by and Aunt and Uncle, along with their grandfather. The grandfather would pass along stories and it is because of these stories and that you help your fellow man that you are lead up to the day and the battle that is taking place. Roy is on his way to breakfast when one of the helicopters is coming in for fuel and ammo. He over hears the crew talking and knowing that a team went out earlier he asks about one of his friends and is told about what is taking place, he immediately grabs his medic kit and hopes into the helicopter. When he gets to the area he can barely see two of the men but he can see all of the rounds being fired, he asks the crew to drop him off which was about 75 yards from where this giant ant hill was and where a few were hold up. He ran across zig sagging but still took a round to the leg. He made to the hill with medical supplies and more ammo which they were running out of. As the battle grew more the spotter called in for an all-out code signaling that a troop was about to be overrun. Though they were in Cambodia within 5- 10 minutes he had multiple jets dropping bombs, napalm, firing there cannons and yet the enemy still were coming in mass amounts. Roy had got the other men together plus a member of a down helicopter crew, and they were putting up a last stand or so they thought. One of the helicopters only took half the fuel and added extra ammo and rockets and by losing their two door gunners two Warrant officers step up and they took off with a crew of entirely officers, unheard of. When they arrived they knew they had one last attempt at a rescue because of darkness, when they went in Roy and another man got all of the men in plus Roy went back to get more and to double check, he was wounded multiple times and collapse on the floor of the helicopter. Because when they went in they were dressed liked the enemy they had actually put Roy in a body bag thinking he was the enemy and dead, until the Sgt. Major told them to get him out and they felt a faint pulse, he was rushed to a hospital. The survivors were all sent to different hospitals and had thought that no one made it out. It was not until a story made it to the newspaper and one of the survivors wrote the Army that people were realizing what other people already knew that Roy was a Hero and should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. It would be thirteen years later but it did happen. I of course am leaving out a lot from this book but this is a great read for everyone and I do want to mention the 240th Assault helicopter Company who provided support and lost three helicopters and crew members that day in rescue attempts and providing support for them. Once again this goes to show you the brave men from all of the wars and these men from Vietnam are finally getting their stories told. What a legacy for the Green Berets as well, and his family. A great book. I got this book from net galley.
Author Eric Blehm's specialty seems to be writing about extraordinary men thrust into harrowing battle situations and performing almost unbelievable feats of heroism. And he writes these gripping stories extraordinarily well and in exacting detail. If you enjoy reading about how men perform in the confusion, noise, and life or death of combat, I highly recommend this book. This is the second of Blehm's books I have read, having devoured 'Fearless' a couple of years ago and enjoying that one as well. I received an advance copy of "Legend' through the Goodreads giveaway lottery, and am very grateful I did. Without spoiling the story, this is about Green Beret Staff Sargent Roy Benavides's heroism deep in the jungles of SE Asia on May 2, 1968 during the height of the Viet Nam War. He earned a well deserved Medal of Honor for his crucial roll in rescuing eight special forces soldiers from almost certain death as they were surrounded by the enemy. The detail and vividness of the story are incredible and keep the reader on the edge of his seat. Blehm also manages to convey the sad facts of how politics, pride, and downright arrogance sometimes placed American troops in needless peril in an ill conceived war. As the author notes, the American soldier DID NOT loose the war in Viet Nam - he was not permitted to win it by politicians and others. Given that fact, its a dirty shame so many good young men were killed and injured in this conflict, when they were doing their patriotic duty and soldiering the best they knew how.
Outstanding. Although a Vietnam veteran and an avid reader of military history, I have shied away from books about Vietnam until somewhat recently. But it is reading about the personal battles, many of which took place after the return home, I feel I can finally admit publicly that I am proud of my military service and proud of my service in Vietnam. For many years that was not possible.
This is true story about one battle of one courageous Green Baret sergeant that ran to the guns when he didn't have to, and his actions that day are truly the thing of legends. The most important thing you will get out of this book, if you are not a veteran yourself, is that these guys, and now days to a greater degree women, don't do these things to bring glory to themselves or to their county. They do it for because of their love and respect for their fellow troopies. As veteran reading this it will also bring home how often the troopies were ordered to do something really stupid by a dumb-as-dirt officer. Something most of us already knew.
In 1945, Roy Benavidez witnessed the news reports that declared the Second World War had ended in an Allied victory. Roy was just a young boy at the time and this was where his story began. Legend by Eric Blehm is a military nonfiction genre. The storyline follows Roy Benavidez from his early life, to his military career, that lead him to earning the Medal of Honor.
Roy came from a well known Hispanic family in the Lindenau area of Texas. At a very young age he enjoyed going to see films of American paratroopers parachuting out of planes, leading to his later decision to serve his country. As time went on the conflict in Vietnam became increasingly heated and Roy wanted a shot at a combat role. He requested to undergo training for the Green Berets, the Army's special operations group, receiving the green beret from John F. Kennedy himself. He spent many years in Vietnam training the South Vietnamese and fighting the Vietcong insurgency. In 1968, a twelve man team was sent on a mission which led to them being surrounded by nearly a thousand North Vietnamese soldiers. Roy heard the call for help and jumped into the nearest helicopter heading to the location. While in mid air and on the way Roy realized he was only armed with a knife and medical supplies. Throughout the fight, Roy had taken on many wounds and engaged the enemy in hand to hand combat while rescuing fellow soldiers. With all the injuries he had sustained he was evacuated by helicopter and was presumed to have died. As the doctors examined him and were putting him into a bodybag there was a twist to the story.
I rate Legend by Eric Blehm five out of five stars because of the story and how well it was written. It described how Roy overcame racism in the South and worked hard in his life to better himself, his family, and his soldiers. I feel Blehm really conveyed how resilient and brave a soldier can be in a fight until the point they can’t go on.
This was a real page burner! I think I read it in 5 days, so gripping was the tale. I'm reading this on the heels of Surprise, Kill, Vanish, by Annie Jacobsen. Good combo, providing overall detail in that book, and amazing specifics in this one. Benavidez was presented as a real person, with character flaws and all. Reading this gave me an increased respect for our soldiers, and I highly and unreservedly recommend this quick read! What a real hero...all of the men in this book!
Definitely the best non-fiction book I've ever read! And that is saying a lot since I much prefer fiction books. Eric Blehm really wove together a beautiful story about Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez and the SOG group. There were some parts that really felt like non-fiction, but throughout the rest of the book, it read like an action fiction book. Toward the last hundred pages of the book, it was unputdownable.
Fast paced, detailed story of the quest for a Vietnam hero to receive a Congressional Medal of Honor. Well written military history that does not dissolve into formal stylism too often associated with this type of writing.
The biographical elements are richly told.
A good read for history buffs and another revealing work about what the USA was doing in SE Asia.
Great true story about a rescue mission during Vietnam. While my Dad served in Okinawa it did make me think a lot about him and his service. I really appreciated the way the author included the character's full story into this book, not just his military service.
Insightful, accurate and should be convicting to some of the politicans and military leaders during that time. In this story Blehm puts his finger on why the Viet Nam Conflict was all wrong from the getgo.
Military leader's egos, political agendas, and failed reasoning all paid for by the blood of the common soldier in VN. The team of soldiers in the historical fact never had a chance, to begin with. By sheer love and devotion to one another and the mindset to never give up the fight, some returned to tell of the mission.
Roy Benavidez was a hero to himself, his family and most importantly to the people he saved. More people should read this story in order to understand why military occupation doesn't work - Not in Viet Nam, not Iraq, not in Afghanistan and not anywhere. We should not be the police of the world.
This was a great nonfiction book; why'd I only give it three stars? Well, you have to be in the mood to read nonfiction. And even though this is a true story, as told by one person, a combination of their research, that is talking to other people combined with government documents to make sure there really was such a person, etc. It is the same story you have read before, about any person who is an insanely brave soldier. But after reading Wikipedia, I just upgraded it to 4 stars. I pray to holy Jesus that Donald Trump reads this book! In President Reagan's speech giving Benavidez the Congressional Medal of Honor, Reagan said (and he WOULD know): if you read this in a movie script, you would not believe it. Dear Mr. Trump: Read this book, about a family of poor, stinking Mexicans you want to build a wall to keep out, who work harder than ANY American is able to do, from birth until death! (Sorry, I am very scared that that dimwit, racist, lying, power-hungry, 1% richest American Billionaire pr*ck Trump is going to be president, and my family will have to leave America, ruined, forever. Just read the Wiki article instead of the book, if you want to save time. I DO like the book gives time to how difficult it is to work 12 hour days picking crops, for Mexican families, in America. And I like the illustration of what keeps every human being strong: in this case, when your parents die and you are young, and your relatives, strangers, take you in, and they teach you: we help EACH OTHER to live. You work, and I work, all of us work, even our children, and then we can have enough money to eat! Maybe someday your little brothers or sisters can go to school! And they won't have to work from before dawn until dusk, so work hard, gavachos! And when he was in school before dropping out at 15, when someone called Benavidez a stinking spic, like all us good Americans do, he found that his long hours of physical labor allowed him to beat the holy FUCK out of them, every time. Yes, I like that. Haters call him a name, and bleed for it, bitches. So when he went to his team, overrun in the jungle in 1968 in Cambodia where they weren't allowed to be, after he was shot, and grenade shrapnel left him a bloody mess and another soldier attacked him with a bayonet, he fought hand to hand combat and killed the soldier while carrying another man on his back. You stab Benavidez with a bayonet, I guarantee you, he'll shove it up your ass, and kill every other person he meets on that battlefield. He did it; that's documented. Dude was shot like 37 time and zipped into a bodybag and spit on the guy zipping up the bag, because he couldn't move any other part of his bullet riddled body. That's what immigrants to America do, after you treat them like dogs for generations and then give them the great honor of joining the U.S. military to fight for the country that treats them however we choose to treat them. Please, make a vow, dear readers! Please do not vote for Donald Trump if he does not give the American people a book report of Legend, before the election. Is that asking too much? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Ben...
An inspirational story of Roy Benavidez’s actions which earned him the Medal of Honor. The book gives the reader the story of his early childhood in Texas, his respect of his family, his teen work mentor and his military history. Of course the main content covers the actions of many heroic soldiers and airmen on May 2, 1968, particularly Roy Benavidez. The words to his citation for the Medal of Honor very briefly summarize an unbelievable multiple hours battle to save the lives of and recover bodies of his fellow brothers in arms. This book is worth the read to learn about his determination, creativity, strength of commitment and sheer will power to help them. It tells the story of incredible self sacrifice for his teammates and his country. I am proud Master Sergeant was awarded the Medal of Honor; he absolutely deserved it!
Mr. Blehm, the author, did a wonderful job pulling the story together and effectively presenting it to us.
"LEGEND," the story of Green Beret Staff Sergeant Roy Benavidez, is a story that needed to be told. Roy Benavidez is an American Hero, who we should honor for his selfless service, and sacrifice to this country. None of my review reflects on this inspiring, and courageous man, who I was honored to read about. "LEGEND," never gets it feet underneath it. The book is bogged down in minutiae instead of story, and it lays flat on the page, never making a connection to the reader. Whereas "FEARLESS," I could not put down, "LEGEND," was a struggle to get through. I was a teenager during Vietnam, so I was familiar with a lot of the material. The story itself was sterile, and I could not connect or get a sense of these people; I never found its heart. I thought the book felt very textbook. It felt like someone who spent a lot of time on researching details wrote it. I have read 'FEARLESS," so many times, and given away so many copies of the book, I have lost count. “FEARLESS,” had a heart besides Adam’s story, and you felt it the whole way through. Eric Blehm is a terrific writer and storyteller, but unfortunately for "LEGEND," all the pieces did not fall into place for this one.
This rating has nothing to do with the story itself. MSG Benavidez is truly a legend and deserves our highest praise and to live on in our memories. However, this book is not particularly well written.
The book Legend by Eric Blehm I believe deserves a 4 star rating. It is a great book for those interested in military history, and military reading in general. The book gives a good amount of back story of Roy Benavidez but no too much that it takes away from the action that the autobiography is based on. It has around 30 pages at the start of the book that give the details of Roy's life as a child which sets his attitude of hard work and dedication throughout the entire book which gives a good theme for a military book. As the book ramps up to more of the military art of Roy's life it becomes more interesting with his fight through the ranks of the military and achieving his goal of being a paratrooper. It sets his ethics and morals very high with anecdotes of personal encounters that challenged his values even if doing the right thing hurt him. Later in the book when it gets to the mission the book is based on it is very action packed with real information from that mission with great details. My favorite quote from the book is "Roy was just another of the anonymous Mexican street kids who,charged with contributing to their family coffers, provided well-to-do farmers, ranchers, and businessmen labor for odd jobs:". I really like this quote because it shows the hardships that Roy had to face as a young kid, but t shows his hard work ethic that made him the man he was in battle. It goes to show that it doesn't matter where or what you've come from it is all about the will and hart you have that makes you a good person and in Roy's case a good soldier. The story starts off with Roy's childhood, his parents died when he was young around the age of 7 so he went to live with his aunt and uncle. Every school year would be short so he could go pick sugar beets in the fields of Colorado. Then he started his career in the military, he went army and progressed the ranks fast for an enlisted soldier. He was demoted when his morals were challenged, but he always did the right thing. He worked as a driver for a general, who in favor gave him a good word in becoming a paratrooper which he always wanted to do. Then he was deployed into Vietnam as a paratrooper. Another troop was put into Cambodia to see what the North Vietnamese were doing that would effect the U.S. The team got trapped when they ran into a large North Vietnamese base. To save the men Roy and his group were sent into help them out, they dropped from the helicopter with supplies and ammo for their men. They provided medical aid tot he wounded soldiers, while fighting off the enemy Roy was shot, hit with grenade shrapnel, and was heavily wounded. He still managed to save his men and become a hero.