Monday, April 27, 2015

LEGEND By Eric Blehm

A Harrowing Story from the Vietnam War of One Green Beret's Heroic Mission to Rescue a Special Forces Team Caught Behind Enemy Lines
By Eric Blehm 
For thirty years, the mission was kept classified...
but Roy Benavidez's courage was no secret.

"If the story of [Benavidez's] heroism were a movie script, you would not believe it."
--President Ronald Reagan

 "I fought beside and led U.S. Special Operations soldiers, sailors, and airmen during three wars - WWII, Korea, and Vietnam - including the men [of SOG] depicted in LEGEND. Never have I read a more powerfully honest, realistic or moving account of the war in Southeast Asia. Eric Blehm masterfully encapsulates the hearts of the men, their impossible mission, and the quagmire of politics of the era and wraps it up in a single bloody battle that portrays the American fighting man at his best."
--Major General John K. Singlaub, U.S. Army (ret.) 

Eric Blehm riveted readers with his New York Times bestseller Fearless, which tells the deeply moving story of Navy SEAL Team Six warrior Adam Brown. Nearly three years after publication, it continues to sell thousands of copies each month, with nearly 400,000 copies sold to date, and is being adapted for film as a major Hollywood release.

Now, on the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, 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 an interview, Eric Blehm can discuss:
  • One of the most legendary rescue missions in American military history, and why the story has never been told in its entirety until now.
  • How it could be that a Green Beret wounded more than 30 times while saving the lives of 8 of his fellow soldiers was not immediately awarded the Medal of Honor.
  • How the Vietnam War set the stage for the tactics, techniques, and procedures used in special operations missions today.
  • Significant comparisons between Roy Benavidez's life and that of fellow Texan Chris Kyle.
  • The critical lessons to be learned from Vietnam, and how they relate to our current and future wars.
  • The relationships Eric has built with America's Special Operations warriors whose stories are told in his books, and how it feels to be entrusted with their most intense, painful memories.
  • Why he has committed his professional life to sharing the stories of America's military heroes.
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.

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 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 eye-witness accounts never before published, as well as recently discovered archival and declassified military records, in LEGEND, 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 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.

About The Author: Eric Blehm is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Fearless and The Only Thing Worth Dying For. His first book, The Last Season, was the winner of the National Outdoor Book Award, and was deemed by Outside magazine to be one of the "greatest adventure biographies ever written."

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