William Shepherd Benson

William Shepherd Benson

Birth
Macon, Bibb County, Georgia, USA
Death 20 May 1932 (aged 76)
USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 3, Lot 1873-B
Memorial ID 6800859 · View Source
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US Navy Admiral. He was the first Chief of Naval Operations, a position that he held throughout World War I. He attended the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, graduating in 1877. His early assignments included coastal surveys and hydrographic duties, a cruise around the World on the USS Dolphin in the 1880s, an instructor at the US Naval Academy, and commander of the cruiser USS Albany. In 1909 he was promoted to the rank of captain and became the Chief of Staff of the US Pacific Fleet. Two years later he became the first Commanding Officer of the battleship USS Utah. Following that tour of duty he returned stateside in 1913 where he was the Commandant of the Philadelphia Naval Yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In May 1915 he was promoted to the rank of rear admiral and assumed duties as the US Navy's first Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), serving in that position until he retired. During that time he was promoted to the rank of admiral and helped to define the duties and functions of the new CNO position and strengthened the Navy by advocating to Congress for the passage of the 1916 Naval Appropriations Act that included the largest shipbuilding program in American history. When the Armistice was signed in November 1918 he was actively involved in the peace negotiations held in France, making strong recommendations on the naval provisions of the Versailles Treaty. In 1919 he almost abolished the US Navy's aviation program, thinking the Navy would never have any use for it but Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt reversed his decision, believing that aviation may someday be critical to the Navy's wartime mission. He retired from the Navy in September 1919 with 42 years of active military service. During his military career he received the Army and Navy Distinguished Service Medals. After his retirement he was active in the leadership of the US Shipping Board. He died in Washington DC at the age of 76. The Navy ships USS Benson and USS Admiral W.S. Benson were commissioned in his honor.

Bio by: William Bjornstad



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  • Created by: Bill Heneage
  • Added: 24 Sep 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6800859
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Shepherd Benson (25 Sep 1855–20 May 1932), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6800859, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Bill Heneage (contributor 499) .