Art Leatherwood

MARTINEZ, BENITO (1932–1952). Benito Martinez, Medal of Honor recipient, was born at Fort Hancock, Texas, on April 21, 1932, to Mr. and Mrs. Francisco Martinez. He entered military service there. Corporal Martinez was a machine gunner with Company A, Twenty-seventh Infantry Regiment, Twenty-fifth Infantry Division, near Satae-ri, Korea. On the night of September 6, 1952, while manning a listening post in an advanced position, he was attacked by a strong enemy force. Heedless of the danger of encirclement, he remained at his post and attempted to slow the enemy advance. As a result of his stand, numerous casualties were inflicted on the attacking troops. He was reached by phone several times but maintained that the danger was too great for anyone to attempt to rescue him. When he was later forced to make a limited withdrawal with only an automatic rifle and a handgun, he defended himself for six hours. At the last contact with him, shortly before dawn, he stated that the enemy was closing in. The next morning his body was found with an empty ammunition clip in his left hand and a .45 caliber pistol in his right. He had killed three North Koreans. Because of his stand, friendly forces were able to reorganize and regain key terrain. Martinez's valorous sacrifice was a tribute to himself and the military service. He is buried at Fort Bliss National Cemetery. His Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously to his mother by the secretary of the army at the Pentagon in Washington.


Committee on Veterans' Affairs, United States Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863–1973 (Washington: GPO, 1973). Raul Morin, Among the Valiant: Mexican Americans in World War II and Korea (Los Angeles: Border, 1963).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Art Leatherwood, "MARTINEZ, BENITO," accessed May 25, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 21, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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