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Born in Macon, Ga., 25 September 1855, William Shepherd Benson graduated from the Academy in 1877. Following command of Albany (CL-22), Missouri (BB-11), Utah (BB-31), and Philadelphia Navy Yard, he was appointed first Chief of Naval Operations In 1915. Admiral Benson served as CNO, until his retirement 25 September 1919. He died in Washington, D. C., 20 May 1932.
(DD-421: dp. 1620; 1. 348'2"; b. 36'1"; dr. 17'6"; s.
36.5 k.; cpl. 276; a. 5 5", 10 21" TT.; cl. Benson)
Benson (DD-421) was launched 15 November 1939 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass.; sponsored by Mrs. W. S. Benson, widow of Admiral Benson; and commissioned 25 July 1940, Lieutenant Commander C. A. Fines in command.
Assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, Benson patrolled along the cast coast until 1 July 1941 when she commenced escorting convoys to Iceland. By the end of the year she had escorted six convoys between Newfoundland and Iceland. She remained on the Iceland escort run until 29 March 1942 when she switched. to escorting transAtlantic convoys to Britain and North Africa. On 19 October 1942, during one of these crossings, Benson was extensively damaged in a collision with Trippe (DD-403). Following repairs at New York she returned to convoy duty until May 1943 when she went to the Mediterranean.
She took part in the invasion of Sicily (6 July-21 August 1943), during which she had 18 men wounded by the near miss of a bomb (11 July), and the Salerno landings (5-21 September 1943). After escorting Mediterranean convoys during October-December 1943 she returned to New York for repairs and training which lasted until 20 April. She returned to the Mediterranean for convoy duty (May-July 1944) and participated in the invasion of southern France (13 August-17 September 1944). From 30 September 1944 to 18 January 1945 she furnished fire support along the French and Italian coasts and then returned to the United States for overhaul. After one convoy run to Britain (April 1945), Benson transferred to the Pacific. She arrived at Pearl Harbor 28 May and during 13-20 June screened the air strikes against Wake Island. From July to October 1945 she escorted convoys between Ulithi and Okinawa, and between the Philippines and Japan. Ben-son reported to Charleston Navy Yard 7 December 1945 to commence inactivation and went out of commission In reserve there 18 March 1946. She remained in reserve until transferred to Nationalist China 26 February 1954.
Benson received four battle stars for her service in the Mediterranean.