Edward Clyde Benfold

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Edward Clyde Benfold
Edward C. Benfold.jpg
Born (1931-01-15)January 15, 1931
Staten Island, New York, U.S.
Died September 5, 1952(1952-09-05) (aged 21)
Korea
Buried at Beverly National Cemetery
New Jersey, U,S,
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1949-1952
Rank PO3 collar.png Hospital Corpsman Third Class
Unit 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division
Battles/wars Korean War
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
Navy Unit Commendation

Edward Clyde Benfold (January 15, 1931 – September 5, 1952) was a United States Navy Hospital Corpsman Third Class who was killed in action while assigned to the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award for valor, for his heroic action on September 5, 1952.

Early life and education[edit]

Benfold was born in Staten Island, the son of Edward and Glenys Benfold. His father served as a Merchant Marine Officer (1st engineer) during World War II and was killed in action serving on the Honduran ship Castilla on June 7, 1942 when the ship was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-107 near Cuba.[1][2][3]

Benfold grew up in Haddon Heights, New Jersey and lived in nearby Audubon, where he graduated from Audubon High School in 1949.[4]

Career[edit]

Benfold enlisted in the United States Navy in June 1949, and entered the service at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1950. He completed Navy recruit training in Great Lakes, Illinois and was selected for "A" school training there at the Naval Hospital Corps School.[5]On June 9, 1951, he was married to Dorothy Groff.[6]

Korean War[edit]

Fleet Marine Force

In July 1951, he was designated as a Medical Field Technician and was ordered to duty with the Fleet Marine Force (FMF), Ground, Pacific. After a tour of duty with a Marine unit at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and Camp Pendleton, California, he was reassigned to the Fleet Marine Force in July 1952 and was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division in Korea. He was killed in action while saving the lives of two wounded Marines during the battle of "Bunker Hill" (Hill 122, September 5-15, 1952), an outpost in western Korea on September 5, 1952.[7]

Medal of Honor[edit]

He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. The medal was presented to his one-year old son, Edward Joseph, who was his next of kin (NOK) as his wife remarried, on July 16, 1953.[8]

Burial[edit]

He is buried in Beverly National Cemetery, New Jersey. His grave can be found in the Distinguished Service Section, Grave 12.

Awards and decorations[edit]

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
Navy Unit Commendation
National Defense Service Medal
Fleet Marine Force Combat Operations Insignia.svgBronze-service-star-3d.png Korean Service Medal w/ bronze service star and FMF Combat Operations Insignia
Republic of Korea Presidential unit Citation
United Nations Service Medal
Korean War Service Medal

Medal of Honor[edit]

Benfold's Medal of Honor Citation reads:

Citation:

For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Hospital Corpsman, attached to a company in the First Marine Division during operations against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on September 5, 1952. When his company was subjected to heavy artillery and mortar barrages, followed by a determined assault during the hours of darkness by an enemy force estimated at battalion strength, HC3c. BENFOLD resolutely moved from position to position in the face of intense hostile fire, treating the wounded and lending words of encouragement. Leaving the protection of his sheltered position to treat the wounded when the platoon area in which he was working was attacked from both the front and the rear, he moved forward to an exposed ridge line where he observed two Marines in a large crater. As he approached the two men to determine their condition, an enemy soldier threw two grenades into the crater while two other enemy charged the position. Picking up a grenade in each hand, HC3c. BENFOLD leaped out of the crater and hurled himself against the onrushing hostile soldiers, pushing the grenades against their chests and killing both the attackers. Mortally wounded while carrying out this heroic act, HC3c. BENFOLD, by his great personal valor and resolute spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of almost certain death, was directly responsible for saving the lives of his two comrades. His exceptional courage reflects the highest credit upon himself and enhances the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for others.

Legacy[edit]

USS Benfold

The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG-65) was named after Hospital Corpsman Third Class Edward C. Benfold and commissioned on March 30, 1996 at Broadway Pier in San Diego.[9][10][11]

Benfold Medical Center

The Benfold Center, Naval Branch Health Clinic (Building S-771), in Millington, Tennessee was named in his honor.[12]

Medal of Honor Memorial

Listed on Audubon High School's Medal of Honor Memorial (1994).[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Medal of Honor, Benfold obituary. Retrieved Jan. 19, 2014
  2. ^ [2] "Merchant Marines Killed on US Operated Ships during WWII". Retrieved Jan. 19, 2014
  3. ^ [3] uboat.net, Ships hit by U-boats, Castilla. Retrieved Jan. 19, 2014.
  4. ^ Braun, Martin Z. "A New Book Chronicles Audubon's Ties To Ship The Uss Benfold, Named For A Korean War Hero From Town, Enjoys A Special Relationship With Borough Residents.", The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 19, 1999. Accessed May 29, 2013.
  5. ^ US. Naval Institute, Naval History & Heritage Command, "Naval History Blog, HM3 Edward C. Benfold", September 5, 2011 [4]
  6. ^ [5] Medal of Honor, Benfold obituary. Retreieved Jan. 19, 2014.
  7. ^ U.S. Navy Institute, Naval History & Heritage Command, "Naval History Blog, HM3 Edward C. Benfold, September 5, 2011 [6]
  8. ^ [7] Medal of Honor, Benfold obituary. Retrieved Jan. 19, 2014
  9. ^ USS Benfold commissioning invitation for March 13, 1996; changed to March 30 [8]
  10. ^ USS Benfold poster, "Onward With Valor"
  11. ^ USS Benfold photo
  12. ^ [9] Medal of Honor, Benfold obituary. Retrieved Jan. 19. 2014
  13. ^ [10] Medal of Honor. Benfold obituary. Retrieved Jan. 19, 2014
This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.