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:


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.


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.

Class of 1938

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