PAUL L. BENTHIN, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Paul Benthin '38

Date of birth: April 4, 1915

Date of death: February 23, 1944

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1938 Lucky Bag:

Loss

From South Dakota Veterans Memorial:

Paul Leslie Benthin was born at Grover, South Dakota to Fred C. and Emma (Simonson) Benthin on April 4, 1915. He was one of ten children. He graduated from Thomas High School and enlisted in the U.S. Navy on July 4, 1932. After two years as an apprentice seaman, he entered the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. He graduated from the Academy in 1938. Following graduation, he served as gunnery officer on the cruiser Chicago for two years, and for one year was chief engineer on the destroyer Kane. He took flight training at Penniscola, Florida from August, 1941 to April 2, 1942. He earned his naval wings and served on the Pacific Coast and in the South Pacific. He was the executive officer of his squadron. He served outside the United States from July, 1942 to September, 1943.

He married Margaret Jeannette Gardner of Oakland, California on October 14, 1943 in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Oakland, California. They had two children, Paul Leslie Benthin, Jr. and Susan Jeanette Benthin. The twins were born September 30, 1944 in Oakland, California.

Lt. Paul Benthin was killed in a military aircraft accident at Fort Ord, California on February 23, 1944. He was preceded in death by his brother, Ernest Benthin on July 27, 1941 in Los Angeles, California. He was survived by his parents, eight siblings, his wife, and two children.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Bonnie Bjork, Pierre, South South Dakota, August 6, 2002.

Career

From naval aviation historian Richard Leonard via email on February 9, 2018:

  • Date of rank from 1 Jul 1941 USN Register, 6/2/1941
  • NAS Pensacola attached for HTA flight training, 8/7/1941
  • NAS Pensacola designated NA # 11847, 3/3/1942
  • Date of rank from 1 Jul 1942 USN Register, 6/15/1942
  • Date of rank from 1 Jul 1943 USN Register, 6/15/1942
  • VC-78 NAS Seattle, 11/30/1943
  • VC-78 NAAS Arlington KIFA, 2/23/1944

Memorial Hall Error

Paul was promoted to LCDR on July 1, 1943 (to date from June 15, 1942). Memorial Hall has LT.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

July 1938

Ensign, USS Chicago

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Everett Abdill '24 (Cruiser Division 5) and LTjg Mark Eslick, Jr. '35 (Cruiser Division 5).

January 1939

Ensign, USS Chicago

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Everett Abdill '24 (Cruiser Division 5) and LTjg Mark Eslick, Jr. '35 (Cruiser Division 5).

October 1939

Ensign, USS Chicago

Others at this command: LCDR Robert Bedilion '22, LT William Graham, Jr. '25, ENS Jack Brenner '39, and ENS Joseph Harmon '39.

Others at or embarked at this command: LCDR Everett Abdill '24 (Cruiser Division 5).

June 1940

Ensign, USS Chicago

Others at this command: LCDR Robert Bedilion '22, LT William Graham, Jr. '25, ENS Joseph Harmon '39, ENS Burton Haker '40, and ENS Clarence Blair '40.

Others at or embarked at this command: LCDR Everett Abdill '24 (Cruiser Division 5).

November 1940

Ensign, USS Kane

April 1941

Ensign, USS Kane


Class of 1938

Paul is one of 71 members of the Class of 1938 on Virtual Memorial Hall.