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