Weldon J. Benson
Peever, South Dakota
June 21, 1926 -- June 17, 1945
Died of Wounds in 69th Field Hospital
Weldon J. Benson was born
to John and Bertha Benson on June 21, 1926, at New Effington, in Roberts County
in South Dakota. Weldon had four sisters: Carol, Marian, Paulette, and Delphine.
He attended several South Dakota schools, as well as schools in Minnesota and
Tacoma, Washington, graduating from Peever High School in Peever, South Dakota,
in May of 1944.
Weldon entered the army on
Sept. 13, 1944, at Fort Snelling in Minnesota. He underwent basic training at
Camp Hood, Texas. Pvt. Benson was furloughed in January of 1945 before being
After serving in the
Pacific for several months, Benson was promoted to Private First Class on May
13, 1945. Pfc. Benson was wounded in action on June 11, 1945, on Okinawa. Six
days later, on June 17, 1945, Army Pfc. Weldon J. Benson died in the 69th
Field Hospital on Okinawa. He was just four days shy of his 19th
birthday and the fighting on Okinawa was over just days after Weldon’s death.
The first telegram that
Pfc. Benson’s family received stated in part:
The Secretary of War desires me to express
his deep regret that your son
Pfc. Benson Weldon J. was seriously wounded on Okinawa 11 June 45.
The next day another
The Secretary of War has asked me to
express his deep regret that your son
Pfc. Benson Weldon J. died of wounds on Okinawa seventeen June 45.
Confirming letter follows.
The confirming letter contained further
details of Weldon’s death:
Weldon was seriously wounded in action by enemy fire during
the attack against a heavily fortified Japanese position near
Medeera [Okinawa]. He was evacuated to the 69th Field Hospital,
he later died of wounds, in spite of the best medical care.
Your son had done a splendid job during
the present campaign
as a rifleman in Company C and had always lived up to the highest
standards of courage in combat. He had made many close friends
in the company, and the news of his death came as a great shock to
all of us.
Army Pfc. Weldon J. Benson was buried in an American
Military Cemetery on Okinawa and then later reburied at Ft. Snelling in
Minnesota. Among his citations were the Good Conduct Medal, and then
posthumously he was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Asian-Pacific
Campaign Medal, World War II Victory, and a Combat Infantryman Badge.
Weldon is survived by his sisters, Carol Johnson, Marian
Kyllo, and Paulette Hutton. As Weldon’s sister, Marian, said, “My brother was
indeed a very real American hero.”
This entry was respectfully submitted by Sam
Reede, 8th Grade West, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South
Dakota, November 8, 2000. Information for this entry was provided by Carol
Johnson, Mitchell, SD, and Marian Kyllo, Plymouth, MN, sisters of Weldon Benson.