Edward Hewitt Benson’s long journey home will be finished Saturday when the World World II private first class who died 77 years ago and half a world away is buried in Roanoke.
Benson was 22 years old when he was killed in March 1945 on an Indonesian island U.S. Army Air Force base during a Japanese air raid.
His body was among those that could not be accounted for, until the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced in March that Benson’s remains had been positively identified.
Know as “Pete,” Benson left a widow and young son, Jim, in Roanoke when he enlisted in 1942.
Jim Benson, now 79 and a retired Marine colonel, waged a decades-long, campaign that led him through dense military bureaucracy to solve the mystery of his father’s death.
The family has planned several commemorative events this weekend. A visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Oakey’s downtown chapel. A military funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday at the same location.
People are also reading…
Burial will be immediately following in the family’s plot at Evergreen Cemetery in Roanoke. A private gathering for friends and relatives will conclude the memorial events.