In Memory of
U.S. Navy Lieutenant
Paul Leslie Benthin
Watertown, South Dakota
Codington County
April 4, 1915-February 23, 1944
Died Non-Battle at Fort Ord, California

Cross markers for WWII casualties at the memorial dedication

Paul Leslie Benthin was born at Grover, South Dakota to Fred C. and Emma (Simonson) Benthin on April 4, 1915.  He was one of ten children.  He graduated from Thomas High School and enlisted in the U.S. Navy on July 4, 1932.  After two years as an apprentice seaman, he entered the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.   He graduated from the Academy in 1938.  Following graduation, he served as gunnery officer on the cruiser Chicago for two years, and for one year was chief engineer on the destroyer Kane.   He took flight training at Penniscola, Florida from August, 1941 to April 2, 1942.  He earned his naval wings and served on the Pacific Coast and in the South Pacific.  He was the senior aviator of his ship and executive officer of his squadron. He served outside the United States from July, 1942 to September, 1943. 

He married Margaret Jeannette Gardner of Oakland, California on October 14, 1943 in St. Paulís Episcopal Church in Oakland, California.  They had two children, Paul Leslie Benthin, Jr. and Susan Jeanette Benthin.  The twins were born September 30, 1944 in Oakland, California.  

Lt. Paul Benthin was killed in a military aircraft accident at Fort Ord, California on February 23, 1944.  He was preceded in death by his brother, Ernest Benthin on July 27, 1941 in Los Angeles, California.  He was survived by his parents, eight siblings, his wife, and two children.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Bonnie Bjork, Pierre, South South Dakota, August 6, 2002.  Information for this entry was obtained from the SD Veterans Bonus Records, the archives of the Watertown Public Opinion and information from