(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — From Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, we celebrate the achievements of Hispanic Americans and their contributions to our nation’s history. Hispanic Americans have served proudly in the military in every conflict since the Civil War, and 46 Hispanic-American Soldiers have received the Medal of Honor in service to our great nation.

Master Sgt. Roy Benavidez’s service reminds us of the dedication and resolve of our Hispanic-American service members. On May 2, 1968, a 12-man Special Forces patrol came under attack from a North Vietnamese Army battalion. When then Staff Sgt. Benavidez heard of the attack, he boarded a helicopter to support the team, armed only with a knife. Over six hours, Benavidez saved eight Soldiers, provided cover for the rescue aircraft, secured classified documents, and held off a force of nearly 1,000 enemy combatants — all while receiving 37 separate wounds. Benavidez survived the encounter and later received the Medal of Honor.

Today, Hispanic-American service members continue the proud legacy of professionalism and selfless service. Hispanic Americans are the fastest growing demographic in the military and make up 17 percent of the total force.

The strength of our military is our people. Organizations perform at their best and are most successful when every person is part of a cohesive team and when every teammate is valued and appreciated. This month, we encourage everyone to learn more about their teammates, and, especially, Hispanic heritage and culture.

We are very proud of our Hispanic-American service members, civilians and families, and their contributions to Fort Leonard Wood.

Victory Starts Here — Victory Through Skill!