United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Release

Press Operations Bookmark and Share

News Release


Release No: 167-96
March 28, 1996


The guided missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) will join the Pacific Fleet for duty during 11:00 a.m. commissioning ceremonies Saturday, March 30, 1996, at Broadway Pier in San Diego, California.

The ship is named to honor the life and service of Hospital Corpsman Third Class Edward Clyde Benfold, U.S. Navy (1931-1952), who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism in the Korean Conflict. Under heavy artillery and mortar barrages by enemy forces estimated at battalion strength, Benfold moved from position to position in the face of intense hostile fire, treating the wounded. As he approached two Marines in a large crater on an exposed ridge line, an enemy soldier threw two grenades into the crater. Picking up a grenade in each hand, Benfold leaped out and hurled himself against onrushing enemy soldiers -- killing the attackers and himself.

Mrs. Dorothy Waida, widow of the ship's namesake, serves as ship's sponsor and will give the traditional first order to "man our ship and bring her to life." Edward J. Benfold, Petty Officer Benfold's son, will also participate in the ceremony.

Vice Admiral Philip M. Quast, Commander, Military Sealift Command, will be the ceremony's principal speaker. Vice Admiral David B. Robinson, Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, will also attend the ceremony.

USS Benfold is the 15th of 35 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers currently authorized by Congress. These multi-mission ships are equipped with the Navy's modern Aegis combat weapons system, which combines space-age communication, radar and weapons technologies

in a single platform for unlimited flexibility. These new destroyers will replace older, less capable ships that are being taken out of service as the Navy reduces spending while maintaining quality as part of its overall plan to recapitalize the fleet. These versatile ships are designed to operate independently or in support of aircraft carrier and amphibious operations.

USS Benfold is equipped to carry Standard surface-to-air-missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from forward and aft vertical launching systems; two fully automated, radar- controlled Phalanx close-in weapon systems; Harpoon anti-ship missiles; one five-inch gun and electronic warfare systems.

This ship is 505 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 66 feet and displaces approximately 8,600 tons fully loaded. Four gas turbine engines power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots. USS Benfold will have a crew of 26 officers, 24 chief petty officers, and 291 enlisted personnel. Commander Mark Ferguson III, USN, will assume command of the new ship, which will be homeported in San Diego, California.

For information related to the commissioning, contact CDR Steve Burnett, Public Affairs Office, Naval Base San Diego, at (619) 532-1430/36.

- END-

Additional Links

Stay Connected