PHILIP C BENN

PHILIP C BENN - 2LT

  • HOMETOWN:
  • short hills
  • COUNTY:
  • Essex
  • DATE OF BIRTH:
  • May 14, 1945
  • DATE OF CASUALTY:
  • March 26, 1968
  • BRANCH OF SERVICE:
  • Army
  • RANK:
  • 2LT
  • STATUS:
  • KIA
  • COUNTRY:
  • South Vietnam

Biography


Philip C. Benn was born on May 14, 1945, to Mr. and Mrs. Ralph P. Benn. His home of record is Short Hills, NJ. He had one sister, Barbara. Philip graduated from Millburn High School in 1963. He continued his education at Norwich University, graduating in 1967. At Norwich, he had been a cadet Lieutenant Colonel.

Benn served in the US Army and attained the rank of Second Lieutenant (2LT). His father was a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Ordnance Corps during World War II and his grandfather was a sergeant major in the United States Marine Corps in Panama and Cuba, prior to World War I.

Benn completed his basic training, Ranger training and Airborne training, all at Fort Benning, GA. He was subsequently stationed at Fort Campbell, KY, where he was an intelligence Officer. It was in that capacity that he went to Vietnam on December 14th in the airlift of the 101st Airborne Division. He was assigned to the 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. After being in combat for two weeks, he was recommended for the Bronze Star Medal with "V" for Valor.

Benn was killed in action on March 26, 1968, when his platoon engaged in a hostile firefight on a combat mission. One of the other soldiers in his unit, Charles Sutphen, recalled the day Benn was killed by friendly fire in the Norwich University Record of Winter 2010. Sutphen remembers that the First Platoon miscalculated the location of the Second Platoon and engaged in friendly fire, which resulted in Benn's death. Charles Sutphen credits Lieutenant Benn for saving his life by giving Sutphen an abandoned NVA helmet that stopped a piece of shrapnel from ripping into his back and killing him that day.

He was survived by his wife, Kristine. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and a second Bronze Star.

Benn's memory was honored at a public ceremony on May 7, 2004, dedicating a memorial at Millburn High School for former students who had died in the Vietnam War.

Sources: Norwich University Record, Millburn High School and NJVVMF.

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