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Bennion, Captain Mervyn

Bennion was in command of the battleship West Virginia moored outside Tennessee on Battleship Row. His ship was hit by seven torpedoes in the First Attack Wave which came in at 0757. The horizontal bombers followed immediately and, although the two bombs that hit West Virginia did not explode, the two that fell on Tennessee did. Fragments from one of these hit Bennion in the abdomen. Lieutenant Commander Doir Johnson sent for the boxing champion Mess Attendant Doris Miller (Miller, Doris) as his strength seemed needed to help evacuate the wounded captain. They lashed him to a ladder, intending to lower him from the bridge, but fire on the deck below made this impossible. While Miller and Lieutenant Freddy White took to the 50mm guns to fight off their attackers, the suffering Bennion, still attempting to take part in the defense of his ship, was hauled up to the navigation bridge and there he died, attended by Chief Pharmacist's Mate Leslie Leak. He was awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor.

See also: Battleship Row; Miller, Doris; First Attack Wave; Tennessee; West Virginia

You can find out more about Captain Bennion in the following Osprey books:

CAMPAIGN 62 Pearl Harbor 1941; MEN-AT-ARMS 342 US Army in WWII (1) The Pacific