Special Forces Senior Medic Lee Martin vividly remembers the first time he saw Green Beret Raul Perez “Roy” Benavidez on May 2, 1968.

Benavidez’s bloody, muddy, beaten body was inside a body bag, which was laying on the airstrip at the Loc Ninh Special Forces A Camp A-331 (located near the Cambodian border), waiting to be shipped to the morgue. His body bag was lying alongside the bodies of several American aviators and Green Berets, and a few enemy soldiers who were killed that day during a top-secret mission in Cambodia that turned deadly.

“I’ll never forget it,” Martin told SOFREP. “He was just a mess. There was no doubt in my mind that he was dead, based on his appearance: the dried blood, sweat, mud, and soft body tissues on his face.”

Martin watched as a doctor bent down and gave one final inspection of the Green Beret sergeant. Much to his surprise, Benavidez’s lips moved as he spit at the doctor, incapable of speaking or moaning. “His face was so caked over he couldn’t open his eyes,” Martin recalled. Also, the doctor couldn’t see that Benavidez’s arms crossed over a gaping abdominal wound that he suffered at the hands of a communist North Vietnamese Army (NVA) soldier.