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January 23, 2012 / iDriveWarships

USS Benfold Celebrates Namesake’s Birthday, Honors Hospital Corpsmen

The guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) held a celebration in honor of its namesake, Eddie Benfold’s birthday Jan. 13 on the ship’s flight deck.

I had the pleasure of hearing about Eddie Benfold, a respected hospital corpsman third class, posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Korean War. Petty Officer Benfold was killed in action at the tender age of 21 while serving with the Second Battalion, First Marines.

I also learned more about the significant role that hospital corpsmen have in the Navy, including the treatment of thousands of Sailors and Marines—all while thinking and acting quickly in the field. Ultimately, they keep their shipmates ready and fit to serve to the best of their ability. They aid Navy physicians with surgeries, and often specialize in radiology, search and rescue, and optical and preventative medicine. They transport the sick and injured to safe quarters, and operate some of the world’s most advanced medical equipment. In short, they take care of those who take care of our country.

Benfold’s Executive Officer, CDR Richard LeBron, opened the ceremony by saying, “History is a story… our story.”

Crew members shared their story by honoring the present and celebrating their past—acknowledging Petty Officer Benfold’s ultimate sacrifice of placing others before his own safety.

Stories of heroism were shared by the ship’s Commanding Officer, CDR Oden, as well as the ship’s corpsman, HMC Contreras, and the guest of honor, RDML Faison from Navy Medicine West.

Admiral Faison spoke fondly of his own personal hero, a corpsman from the Battle of Fallujah, and referred to the esteemed group as “the heroes of our Navy.”

Founded in 1898, there are over 24,000 hospital corpsmen serving in the U.S. Navy today.

To view PHOTOS from Benfold’s celebration, click here.

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