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Wednesday, September 05, 2012
TFH 9/5: HM3 Edward Clyde Benfold, USN
Edward Clyde Benfold was born on January 15, 1931 on Staten Island, New York. He grew up in Audubon, New Jersey, graduating from Audubon High School in 1949. After graduation, Benfold enlisted in the United States Navy and by July 1951 was rated as a Hospital Corpsman (I used the modern rating abbreviation above out of habit). He was designated a medical field technician and assigned to the 1st Marine Division; Benfold was sent with the Marines to combat in Korea.
Sixty years ago today on September 5, 1952, Corpsman Benfold was caring for the wounded of 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment when he observed two possibly wounded Marines in a shell crater. As he approached the crater exposed to fire, the charging communist enemy hurled two grenades into it. Benfold grabbed the grenades and stopped the charge, placing his comrades bodies above his own, and ultimately being recognized with our Nation's highest honor.
*BENFOLD, EDWARD C.
Rank and organization: Hospital Corpsman Third Class, U.S. Navy, attached to a company in the 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Korea, 5 September 1952. Entered service at: Philadelphia, Pa. Born: 15 January 1931, Staten Island, N.Y. Citation: For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving in operations against enemy aggressor forces. 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 rear, he moved forward to an exposed ridge line where he observed 2 marines in a large crater. As he approached the 2 men to determine their condition, an enemy soldier threw 2 grenades into the crater while 2 other enemy charged the position. Picking up a grenade in each hand, HC3c Benfold leaped out of the crater and hurled himself against the on-rushing 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 2 comrades. His exceptional courage reflects the highest credit upon himself and enhances the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for others.
Benfold today rests in peace at the Beverly National Cemetery, Beverly, New Jersey. As a service, the United States Navy paid the young Corpsman one of the finest honors it could when on March 30, 1996 the USS Benfold (DDG-65), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, was commissioned. The Benfold today sails in defense of liberty from her home port of Naval Base San Diego in California. They are currently at sea.