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First Name: Benito

Last Name: Martinez

Birthplace: Fort Hancock, TX, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Fort Hancock, TX

Date of Birth: 21 April 1932

Date of Death: 06 September 1952

Rank: Corporal

Years Served: 1950 - 1952
Benito Martinez

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Benito Martinez
Corporal, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Korean War

The Early Years

Benito Martinez was a Mexican-American born on 21 April 1932 to Mr. and Mrs. Francisco Martinez in Fort Hancock, TX. There, he received his primary and secondary education. He also joined the U.S. Army at the recruiting station in his hometown. Martinez completed his basic training and was eventually assigned to Company A (Able Company) of the 25th Infantry Division.

Korean War

The North Korean Communist forces invaded the Republic of Korea on 25 June 1950. The 27th Regiment, 25th Infantry Division (nickname:"Wolfhounds") was stationed in Hawaii and in July was put on alert. By 18 July, the entire division was in Pusan in Republic of Korea.

On 23 February 1952, the 25th Division, under the command of Major General Ira P. Swift, was in the front line in the center of the X Corps sector near Mundung-ni northeast of the Hwach'on Reservoir. The division assumed the front line routine of patrols, ambushes, artillery exchanges, and bunker maintenance. The division also secured and defended forward outposts beyond the main line of resistance.

Martinez's unit, the 2nd Platoon of A Company, inherited a position known as Sandbag Castle from Charlie Company (C Company). On the night of 5 September 1952, Corporal Martinez was in Outpost Agnes performing forward listening post duties. Outpost Agnes was a bunker large enough to hold four soldiers. Shortly after midnight, the North Koreans began shelling Sandbag Castle. During a lull in the shelling, the men of the 27th inside the castle were able to spot crawling North Korean soldiers whose intentions were to cut off the forward bunkers and Outpost Anges.

Martinez ordered the three men in his bunker to return to the Sandbag Castle. His commanding officer, Lieutenant McLean called him on the sound power telephone and ordered him to get out. Martinez, knowing the situation better than anyone, replied that he would have to stay on and delay the North Koreans as long as possible. Martinez remained at his post and with his machinegun inflicted numerous casualties on the attacking troops. When he ran out of ammunition, he retreated to a bunker destroyed by enemy shelling and from there continued his assault with a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). Martinez was mortally wounded before his unit was able to counterattack and regain their terrain.

For his heroic actions 6 September 1952, Corporal Benito Martinez was posthumously awarded the United States' highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor


Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company A, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division.

Place and date: Near Satae-ri Korea, 6 September 1952.

Entered service at: Fort Hancock, TX

Born: 21 March 1931, Fort Hancock, TX

G.O. No.: 96, 29 December 1953


Cpl. Martinez, a machine gunner with Company A, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. While manning a listening post forward of the main line of resistance, his position was attacked by a hostile force of reinforced company strength. In the bitter fighting which ensued, the enemy infiltrated the defense perimeter and, realizing that encirclement was imminent, Cpl. Martinez elected to remain at his post in an attempt to stem the onslaught. In a daring defense, he raked the attacking troops with crippling fire, inflicting numerous casualties. Although contacted by sound power phone several times, he insisted that no attempt be made to rescue him because of the danger involved. Soon thereafter, the hostile forces rushed the emplacement, forcing him to make a limited withdrawal with only an automatic rifle and pistol to defend himself. After a courageous 6-hour stand and shortly before dawn, he called in for the last time, stating that the enemy was converging on his position His magnificent stand enabled friendly elements to reorganize, attack, and regain the key terrain. Cpl. Martinez' incredible valor and supreme sacrifice reflect lasting glory upon himself and are in keeping with the honored traditions of the military service.

On 29 December 1953, President Harry S. Truman presented the family of Benito Martinez with the Medal of Honor.

Other Medals

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Martinez was awarded the following:

Purple Heart
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal with 2 Bronze Stars
United Nations Service Medal
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation


The cities of El Paso and Fort Hancock have honored the memory of Corporal Benito Martinez by naming elementary schools after him.

Death and Burial

Corporal Benito Martinez was killed in action on 6 September 1952. He was initially buried in Fort Hancock Cemetery and then exhumed in the 1980s to be buried with full military honors at Fort Bliss National Cemetery in El Paso, TX.

Honoree ID: 1199   Created by: MHOH




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