SAN DIEGO – The destroyer USS Benfold and its complement of nearly 300 are scheduled to return to Naval Base San Diego this afternoon after a seven-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Middle East.
While away, the ship and its crew of 33 officers, 38 chief petty officers and 210 enlisted personnel took part in ballistic missile defense and anti-piracy missions, according to the Navy’s Third Fleet. It was one of four U.S. warships that tracked the long-range ballistic missile launched from North Korea early last month to ensure it did not threaten North America.
North Korean officials said the launch was for science and research purposes, though U.S. officials said it violated U.N. Security Council resolutions.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer is named for Navy Hospitalman 3rd Class Edward Clyde Benfold, who was killed in action in 1952 in Korea while serving as a corpsman with the First Marine Division.
During an attack by opposing forces, Benfold went into a crater to check on the condition of two Marines, only to have the enemy toss in a pair of grenades. According to the Navy, he picked up the explosives, jumped out of the pit, and detonated them against the chests of onrushing soldiers.
He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of the two Marines in the hole.