BENITO MARTINEZ (1932 ~ 1952). Medal of Honor recipient Benito Martinez was born on April 21, 1932, to Mr. and Mrs. Francisco Martinez in Fort Hancock, Texas. He joined the Army at Fort Hancock and was assigned to Company A, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division as a Corporal and machine gunner. Martinez was deployed to Korea with that unit.
On the night of September 6, 1952, near Satae-ri, Korea, Martinez and three other soldiers occupied a forward listening position constructed by the Turkish Brigade known as "Sandbag Castle." They were attacked by a large enemy force with heavy mortar fire. When the enemy advanced on his position, Martinez ordered a retreat and stayed behind to provide covering fire. As the enemy continued the advance, Martinez inflicted many casualties with his machine gun. He was contacted by command several times, but refused a rescue attempt because of the strength of the enemy force. Martinez traded his machine gun for a lighter, more mobile, Browning Assault Rifle and moved throughout the trench works firing on the enemy for the next six hours. Just before dawn, Martinez reported that the enemy was converging on his position and was likely killed soon after.
His courageous stand gave Allied forces time to reorganize and regain key territory. For his actions, Martinez was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, which was presented to his mother on December 16, 1953, at the Pentagon. Two elementary schools are named after Martinez; one in El Paso and one in Fort Hancock. Martinez is buried at Fort Bliss National Cemetery, El Paso.
Bibliography: "Above and Beyond: the Medal of Honor in Texas," Capitol Visitors Center, State Preservation Board of Texas. Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association, University of Texas, http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/MM/fmacs.html, April 26, 2006. "Hero's of the Regiment: Corporal Benito Martinez," 27th Infantry Regiment Historical Society, http://www.kolchak.org/History/Korea/agnes.htm, June 14, 2006.