The U.S.S. Bennington—Part 2

Out & About

The U.S.S. Bennington—Part 1

After reading about the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove and discovering that it was a memorial to the USS Bennington, I went to Wikipedia to search for USS Bennington. There I discovered that another memorial to the 66 dead Bennington sailors was at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. It’s the tallest thing for miles around, including trees.

U.S.S. Bennington memorial at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego CA

U.S.S. Bennington memorial at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego CA

U.S.S. Bennington memorial at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego CA

San Diego is the only place in the nation that has two national cemeteries. The newest one, Miramar National Cemetery, was dedicated on January 30, 2010. Fort Rosecrans NC was dedicated in 1882. Further comparison: Miramar NC comprises 313 acres and Fort Rosecrans NC comprises 77½ acres. There are 101,079 graves in Fort Rosecrans NC with no more being accepted; cremated remains can still be accepted. Miramar NC, as of May 2015, had 6,845 graves (in just five years!) but can hold a total of 235,000. Let’s hope it never gets close to holding that many graves.

The USS Bennington monument is a granite obelisk 75 feet tall and dedicated to the men who lost their lives on that ship in San Diego harbor on July 21, 1905. The monument was dedicated on January 7, 1908.

Although there were 66 dead, with sources indicating that they were buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, I didn’t see 66 headstones. Further research indicates that some men later were disinterred and shipped home for burial by their families.

U.S.S. Bennington memorial at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego CA

U.S.S. Bennington memorial at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego CA

Eleven men were awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism displayed at the time of the explosion:

Edward William Boers
George F. Brock
Raymond E. Davis
John J. Clausey
Willie Cronan
Emil Fredericksen
Rade Grbitch
Frank E. Hill
Oscar Frederick Nelson
Otto Diller Schmidt
William Sidney Shacklette

A twelfth man, John Henry Turpin (1876-1962), reportedly saved three officers and twelve men by swimming them to shore one at a time. He was not among those awarded the Medal of Honor, presumably because he was African-American. Current efforts are underway to have the Navy award Turpin the Medal of Honor posthumously.

An interesting tidbit is that Turpin was a survivor of the USS Bennington disaster but also survived the USS Maine explosion in Havana, Cuba, in 1898.

I thought it would be appropriate to list the 66 dead here so that Google could index them:

Don Cameron Archer
Leroy Brewster Archer
John Calvin Barchus
Amel Bensel
Clive Wintreth Brockman
Frederick William Brown
Glenn Brownlee
Elmer Ulysses Brunson
Thomas Burke
John Leo Burns
Preston Carpenter
Robert Bartley Carr
Charles Samuel Carter
Matthew Garfield Chambers
William Isaac Cherry
George T. Clark
Michael Conway
Frank DeCurtoni
Emil Dresch
Josiah Ezell
Edward Brewster Ferguson
William Martin Fickweiler
Lyn Joseph Gauthier
Frederick John Geiss
John Goika
Walter Gilbert Grant
Lawrence Andrew Gries
Clyde Haggbloom
George Henry Hallet
Joseph Hilscher
Emil Christian Hoffman
Dwight Noble Holland
Richard Ansley House
Bert Arthur Hughes
Joseph Hunt
Andrew Kamerer
Jodie Wirt Kempton
Ward Vars Kennedy
Charles Joseph Kuntz
Charles Oliver McKeon
John McKone
H.O. Metius
Kirtley Felix Morris
Harry Mosher
Frederick James Muller
Charles Nelson
Joseph Newcombe
Peter Nieman
Bernard Joseph Olges
Stephen William Pallock
Warren Niles Parrish
Newman Kershaw Perry
Michael George Quinn
Edwin Burton Robinson
Claud Emerson Rushing
Harry Fay Saunders
Robert Lee Savage
Albert Henry Schoregge
Harry Frank Smith
William Staub
Claude Henry Stephenson
Sago Takata
Wesley Marsh Taylor
William Clyde Willson
Wilbur Washington Wright

U.S.S. Bennington by William H. Rau

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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6 thoughts on “The U.S.S. Bennington—Part 2

  1. Pingback: SAn diego – 307

    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Much more of a journey than I thought it would be when I set out on this adventure, but that doesn’t bother me. Makes it more fun, especially when it involves history. I love history.

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      Reply

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