In Memory of
Army Sgt.
James Alan Benson
Clark, South Dakota
Clark County
June 7, 1923 – July 11, 1944
Killed in a plane crash in Parkston, Oxford County, Maine

 James Alan Benson

James Alan Benson was born June 7th, 1923 in Clark County.  He was the fourth child out of five born to Laura and Bernhard Benson.  He attended Clark High School and was active in football, bowling, and baseball.  He graduated from Clark High School in 1941.  One year after graduation he worked at a Lockheed shops in California and then with the Northwestern Aeronautical Corporation in Minneapolis until his induction into the Army.  He never married but was engaged to Valoris Reinka.  In his spare time he liked to have fun and spend time with his friends. 

Corporal James Benson has completed final phase training as aerial gunner of heavy bombardment unit, at the 22nd Combat Crew Training School, 2nd Army air force.  He entered the service on April 27, 1943.  He received Army air force gunnery training at AAF, Las Vegas, Nevada, and armament training at Lowry Field Denver, Colorado.  He received his promotion to Corporal in March 1944.  About one month before the accident he advanced to the rank of Sergeant.  He served in many places including: Sheppard Field, Texas, Lowery Field, Colorado, Ardmore, Oklahoma, A base in Utah, Las Vegas, Nevada, and in Kearney, Nebraska. 

James Benson died July 11th 1944, in a plane crash near Deer Mountain in Rangeley, Maine.  These next sentences are quoted parts from telegrams sent to Mr. and Mrs. Ben Benson.  “The B-17 crew of which your son Sgt. James A. Benson is a member has been reported as missing on July 11th while on combat training flight over the state of New Hampshire (July 12th 1944).”  “Every available facility is being used by organized searching parties and planes to locate the missing aircraft and crew (July 13th 1944).”  “Search planes have located wreckage of four engine bomber on mountain side near Rangeley Maine (July 14th 1944).”  “Wreckage of aircraft found near Rangeley Maine has been positively identified as aircraft on which your son was a crew member and it is with deep regret that I inform you of your son’s death as a result of this accident on July 11th 1944 (July 16th 1944).” 

James Alan Benson was buried at the Clark Center Cemetery on July 25th 1944.  He was issued an award of recognition of devotion and self-less consecration to the service of our country.  He was survived by his siblings Max, Margaret, Joyce and also by his parents Bernhard and Laura Benson. 

 This entry was respectfully submitted by Ashley McIntosh and Stephanie McGraw, Senior English, Clark High School, Clark, South Dakota, January 4, 2002.  Max and Gen Benson of Clark, South Dakota, Brother and Sister-In-Law of James Alan Benson provided information for this entry.