In Memory of
Army Air Force Corporal
Marvin Kenneth Benson
Aberdeen, South Dakota
Brown County
April 21, 1924 – September 18, 1944 
Killed in a Plane Crash at Scott Field, Illinois

    Marvin Kenneth Benson

Marvin K. Benson was born in Red Wing, MN on April 21, 1924. His parents were Julius and Bertha Benson, and his siblings were Gladys, Lawrence, Alvin, Lorraine, and Robert. While in high school he was involved in the orchestra. He graduated from Aberdeen Central High School in 1942.  He attended one year of college at Northern State University, where he was “first violinist in the orchestra.”

Marvin enlisted in the service on April 16, 1943, at Ft. Snelling, Minnesota. He trained as a radio operator at Scott Field, Illinois, and as a gunner on a B-26 Bomber at Buckingham Field, Florida. From there he went to Barksdale Field, Louisiana, and then to Lake Charles base in Louisiana.  Corporal Benson, part of the 331st training unit, wrote home while at Barksdale: “This place is the place to get out of flying, if a guy wants to get out, because they ask you in an interview whether you’re afraid to fly or not. They have a lot of accidents here with the B-26 and I guess it is too fast for the pilots.  They have lost 38 men in two weeks here and a lot of the guys are getting afraid to fly and that isn’t good. The B-26 is the best plane out, if you can get the man to fly it.” On September 6, 1944, just a dozen days before he was killed, Marvin wrote to his parents: “My engineer really knows his plane and my pilot can really fly. We make our landings at 150 M.P.H. and we haven’t made a rough landing yet.” He ends the letter with “All indication point to India, so it looks like I’m going to give the ‘Japs’ hell.”

Corporal Marvin Benson and five others in his crew were killed in a plane crash on September 18, 1944, at Scott Field Army Air Base.  They lost an engine on take off and tried to land but hit a tractor on the runway. Corporal Benson was buried at Riverside Cemetery in Aberdeen, South Dakota. He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Jonathan R. Fliehs and Adam Grams, 11th Grade, Groton High School, Groton, South Dakota, April 21, 2002. Information for this entry was provided by Marvin’s brother, Mr. Lawrence B. Benson.