b. 05/05/1887 Vernon, Utah. d. 07/12/1941 Pearl Harbour, Hawaii.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 07/12/1941 Pearl Harbour, Hawaii.
Bennion was born in Vernon, Utah Territory on May 5, 1887. Bennion was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His Welsh grandfather, John Bennion, had immigrated to Utah with the Mormon pioneers and established successful cattle operations near Taylorsville, Utah. Bennion was living near Preston, Idaho when he received his acceptance to the United States Naval Academy. Bennion graduated third in his 1910 class from the USNA. Coincidentally, his younger brother Howard Bennion, graduated first in his class of 1912 at the United States Military Academy. His first assignment after graduation was on the USS California (ACR-6) in the engineering division. Bennion became an ordnance and gunnery specialist serving in the Ordnance Bureau at Washington Naval Yard during World War I. Bennion’s first command was the destroyer USS Bernadou (DD-153), followed by command of Destroyer Division One. He assumed command of the USS West Virginia on July 2, 1941. His Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously, and a destroyer named the USS Bennion (DD-662) was christened in 1943 by his wife Louise. In 1951 the Salt Lake City Navy Mother’s Club dedicated a plaque in honor of World War II veterans in Salt Lake’s Memory Grove. Bennion was also honored in 1968 by the University of Utah’s Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps, which dedicated the midshipmen wardroom in the Naval Science Building to him.
For conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. As Commanding Officer of the USS West Virginia, after being mortally wounded, Capt. Bennion evidenced apparent concern only in fighting and saving his ship, and strongly protested against being carried from the bridge.
BURIAL LOCATION; SALT LAKE CITY CEMETERY, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.