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 E Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines
Battles/wars Korean War
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart Medal

Edward Clyde Benfold (January 15, 1931 – September 5, 1952) was a United States Navy hospital corpsman third class who was killed in action while attached to a Marine Corps rifle company during the Korean War. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism above and beyond the call of duty 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]

U.S. Navy[edit]

Benfold enlisted in the United States Navy on June 27, 1949 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[5] He completed Navy recruit training in Great Lakes, Illinois, in December and was selected for "A" school training there at the Naval Hospital Corps School.[6] He was promoted to hospital apprentice in 1949. In April 1950, he was transferred to the Naval Hospital at Newport, Rhode Island.

Korean War[edit]

He was promoted to hospital corpsman third class on August 12, 1950.[7] On June 9, 1951, he was married to Dorothy Groff.[8] In July 1951, he was transferred to the Fleet Marine Force (FMF), Field Medical Service School at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, for combat field training, graduating in September[9] as a Field Medical Service Technician (HM-8404).[10] He was then assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division (was the 3rd Marine Brigade until January 1952), Fleet Marine Force, as a FMF corpsman, at Camp Pendleton, California.[11] In March 1952, he was transferred to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, at Camp Pendleton until July 1952.[12] On July 21, he was assigned to the 1st Marine Division in Korea,[13] where he was assigned to E Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment.[14]

Death and burial[edit]

Benfold was killed in action on September 5, 1952, while saving the lives of two wounded Marines he was aiding in a crater from two enemy hand grenades at "Outpost Bruce" which was held by Marines of I Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines[15][16] in North Korea during the battle of "Bunker Hill" (September 5–15, 1952); Bunker Hill was a ridgeline between Hills 122 and 124 in western Korea.[17][18]

Benfold was buried with full military honors in Beverly National Cemetery, New Jersey. His grave can be found in the Distinguished Service Section, Grave 12.

Medal of Honor[edit]

Benfold was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. On July 16, 1953, The medal was presented by Rear Admiral John H. Brown Jr., Commandant of the 4th Naval District, to his one-year-old son, Edward Joseph, who was his next of kin (NOK) as his wife remarried.[19][20]

Benfold's Medal of Honor citation reads:

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to

HOSPITAL CORPSMAN THIRD CLASS EDWARD C. BENFOLD

UNITED STATES NAVY

for service as set forth in the following

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.


Harry S. Truman

Military awards[edit]

Benfold's military decorations and awards include:

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart Medal
Navy Unit Commendation
Navy Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Fleet Marine Force Combat Operations Insignia.svgBronze-service-star-3d.png Korean Service Medal w/ FMF Combat Operations Insignia and 316" bronze campaign star
Republic of Korea Presidential unit Citation
United Nations Service Medal
Korean War Service Medal

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.[21][22][23]

Benfold Medical Center

The Benfold Center, Naval Branch Health Clinic (Building S-771), in Millington, Tennessee was named in his honor.[24]

Medal of Honor Memorial

Listed on Audubon High School's Medal of Honor Memorial (1994).[25]

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. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-boats, Castilla". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 19 January 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. ^ Marine Corps History Division http://www.mcu.usmc.mil/historydivision/Pages/Who's%20Who/A-C/Benfold_EC.aspx
  6. ^ US. Naval Institute, Naval History & Heritage Command, "Naval History Blog, HM3 Edward C. Benfold", September 5, 2011 [3]
  7. ^ Marine Corps History Division http://www.mcu.usmc.mil/historydivision/Pages/Who's%20Who/A-C/Benfold_EC.aspx
  8. ^ [4] Medal of Honor, Benfold obituary. Retrieved Jan. 19, 2014.
  9. ^ Veterans Tributes http://www.veterantributes.org/TributeDetail.php?recordID=1388
  10. ^ Marine Corps History Division http://www.mcu.usmc.mil/historydivision/Pages/Who's%20Who/A-C/Benfold_EC.aspx
  11. ^ Veterans Tributes http://www.veterantributes.org/TributeDetail.php?recordID=1388
  12. ^ Veterans Tributes http://www.veterantributes.org/TributeDetail.php?recordID=1388
  13. ^ Marine Corps History Division http://www.mcu.usmc.mil/historydivision/Pages/Who's%20Who/A-C/Benfold_EC.aspx
  14. ^ Marine Corps History Division http://www.mcu.usmc.mil/historydivision/Pages/Who's%20Who/A-C/Benfold_EC.aspx
  15. ^ Note: E Company, 2/1 Marines was temporary attached to I Company, 3/5 Marines: Marine Corps History and Museum Division, Korean War Commemorative Series, 2001, Dept. of Defense-50th Anniversary of Korean War- "Stalemate, U.S. Marines from Bunker Hill to Hook" by Bernard Nalty http://www.koreanwar2.org/kwp2/usmckorea/PDF_Monographs/KoreanWar.Stalemate.pdf
  16. ^ U.S. Marine Operations in Korea, 1950-1953, Vol. V, "Operations in West Korea", 1972, page 152-footnote 11 (Benfold, Outpost Bruce, I/3/5 Marines) http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Publications/U.S.%20Marine%20Operations%20in%20Korea%20Vol%205%201950%20-%201953%20%20PCN%2019000264000_1.pdf
  17. ^ U.S. Navy Institute, Naval History & Heritage Command, "Naval History Blog, HM3 Edward C. Benfold, September 5, 2011
  18. ^ Marine Corps History Division
  19. ^ [5] Medal of Honor, Benfold obituary. Retrieved Jan. 19, 2014
  20. ^ Marine Corps History Division http://www.mcu.usmc.mil/historydivision/Pages/Who's%20Who/A-C/Benfold_EC.aspx
  21. ^ USS Benfold commissioning invitation for March 13, 1996; changed to March 30 [6]
  22. ^ USS Benfold poster, "Onward With Valor"
  23. ^ USS Benfold photo
  24. ^ [7] Medal of Honor, Benfold obituary. Retrieved Jan. 19. 2014
  25. ^ [8] Medal of Honor. Benfold obituary. Retrieved Jan. 19, 2014
This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.