Kurt Bendera was a Maquis fighter who served on the raider Val Jean under Chakotay until 2371, when the Maquis crew was forced to join the Starfleet crew of the USS Voyager once the two groups were stranded in the Delta Quadrant. He served in the ship's engineering department.
While Bendera was still in the Alpha Quadrant, he was present when Chakotay was attacked by an angry group of miners on Telfas Prime, who "disagreed with Chakotay's sense of humor." Bendera, a complete stranger to Chakotay, backed him up and forced the miners to stand down. After Chakotay thanked Bendera, he just grinned and said "I like a good fight." The two were friends afterwards. Bendera also once saved the life of B'Elanna Torres near the Cardassian border. He was also close with fellow Maquis member Hogan.
Bendera was the third crewmember lost to the Kazon. Chakotay and several other Maquis crewmembers tried to convince Voyager captain Kathryn Janeway that the violence was a sign that the ship should perhaps disregard strict Starfleet protocol and adopt some Maquis attitudes. (VOY: "Alliances")