Benson, Lee David, LTJG

Fallen
 
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Last Rank
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1968-1968, 131X, USS Yorktown (CVS-10)
Service Years
1965 - 1968
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Lieutenant Junior Grade

 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
California
California
Year of Birth
1943
 
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Casualty Info
Home Town
San Mateo
Last Address
San Mateo

Casualty Date
Mar 17, 1968
 
Cause
Hostile, Died while Missing
Reason
Lost At Sea-Unrecovered
Location
Vietnam, North (Vietnam)
Conflict
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
45E 010

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 

S-3 1,000 HRS


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

SYNOPSIS: Cdr. Donald R. Hubbs (pilot); LtJg. Lee D. Benson (co-pilot); AX2
Randall J. Nightingale (Antisubmarine Warfare Technician 2nd Class); and ADR
Thomas D. Barber (crewman) comprised the crew of an S2E aircraft assigned to
Air Antisubmarine Squadron 23 aboard the USS YORKTOWN.

As submarine action in Vietnam was virtually (if not completely) unknown, a
wide variety of activities were conducted by Anti-submarine units in
Vietnam. Because Anti-submarine warfare involves the use of magnetic
detection gear or acoustic buoys in conjunction with "listening" devices,
anti-submarine aircraft and their crews' training proved especially
adaptable to reconnaissance and tracking missions.

On March 17, 1968, Hubbs and his crew launched from the YORKTOWN on a night
surveillance mission over the North Vietnam coast in the area of Vinh.
Weather was bad with zero visibility. Approximately one hour after launch,
the aircraft reported radar problems. No other transmissions were heard, and
the aircraft disappeared from the ship's radar scope. All efforts to make
contact were unsuccessful. However, five hours after the last contact, radio
signals were heard, and North Vietnamese fishing boats were spotted in the
area the next day. The last point of contact occurred about 30 miles off the
shore of North Vietnam about 25 miles east southeast of the island of Hon
Me.

On July 2O, 1968 a section of the starboard wing was found. During the
period of July through September 1973 an overwater/at-sea casualty
resolution operation was conducted to determine the feasibility and
desirability of such water loses. These operations were terminated when it
was determined to be unfeasible and nonproductive in such cases. Commander
Hubbs and the rest of his crew are still carried in the status of Presumed
Dead/Remains nonrecoverable.

When considering a personnel loss at sea, the criteria for survival involves
both the location and the cause of the loss. In the case of the S2E, no
reason for loss was ever determined. Therefore, it was either shot down or
went down due to mechanical or weather difficulties.

If mechanical difficulties resulted in the downing of the S2E, in an
entirely non-hostile environment, then there can be little chance of
survival for the crew of the S2E unless they managed to cross 25 miles of
ocean. If enemy activity was present, however, there can be ample room for
speculation that the crew might have been captured by one of the fishing
boats in the area.

The crew of the S2E is among nearly 3000 Americans who remained prisoner,
missing, or otherwise unaccounted for at the end of the Vietnam war. Since
that time, cases have been resolved by the return of remains and by other
means. Since the end of the war, over 10,000 reports relating to these
Americans have been received by the U.S. Government, convincing many
authorities that hundreds of Americans remain alive in enemy hands today.

Whether the crew of the S2E survived to be captured can only be speculated.
It would be kinder to them and to their families if they died on March 17,
1968. It is impossible to imagine the agony they must feel to have been
abandoned by their country. It is heartbreaking to consider that Americans
still await rescue by the country they proudly served.
   
Comments/Citation
Not Specified
   
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 Ribbon Bar
Naval Aviator Wings

 
 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1965, Direct Commissioned Officer Indoctrination Course (DCOIC) (Pensacola, FL), 08
 Duty Stations
Commander Navy Reserve Forces Command (COMNAVRESFORCOM)Naval Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API), NAS Pensacola, FLAdvanced Flight Training, NAS Meridian, Mississippi.Fleet Anti Submarine Warfare Training Center Pacific (FLEASWTRACENPAC)
VS-23 Black CatsUSS Yorktown (CVS-10)
  1963-1965, 110X, Commander Navy Reserve Forces Command (COMNAVRESFORCOM)
  1965-1965, 139X, Naval Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API), NAS Pensacola, FL
  1965-1966, 139X, Advanced Flight Training, NAS Meridian, Mississippi.
  1967-1967, 139X, Fleet Anti Submarine Warfare Training Center Pacific (FLEASWTRACENPAC)
  1968-1968, 131X, VS-23 Black Cats
  1968-1968, 131X, USS Yorktown (CVS-10)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1968-1968 Vietnam War
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (68)
 Other News, Events and Photographs
 
  A Note from the Vertual Wall
  Jun 16, 2005, Remembered By Laura Sims
  Mar 19, 2018, General Photos1
 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2018, Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Assoc. Page
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