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Service Status
Not Specified
Last Rank
Technical Sergeant
Service Years
1942 - 1943
AFSC/MOS
M 0611-Aerial Gunner
Home State
Arizona


Aerial Gunner Badge



Cause
Hostile, Died while Missing
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
China
Conflict
World War II
Location of Interment
Manila American Cemetery - Taguig City, Philippines
Wall Coordinates
Tablets of the Missing
Nov 21, 1943
World War II Victory Medal
Criteria
The World War II Victory Medal commemorates military service during the Second World War.
Comments
Comments Pending
1945
Service to 1943
Silver Star
Criteria
The Silver Star may be awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States, is cited for gallantry in action, against an enemy of the United States whil... More
Comments
Comments Pending
1943
Legion of Merit
Criteria
The Legion of Merit is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States without degree for exceptionally outstanding conduct in the performance of meritorious service to the United States. ... More
Comments
Comments Pending
1943
Distinguished Flying Cross
Criteria
The Distinguished Flying Cross may be awarded to military members who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces, distinguish themselves by heroism or outstanding achievement while participa... More
Comments
Comments Pending
1943
Distinguished Flying Cross
Criteria
The Distinguished Flying Cross may be awarded to military members who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces, distinguish themselves by heroism or outstanding achievement while participa... More
Comments
Comments Pending
1943
Purple Heart
Criteria
The Purple Heart may be awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the Armed Forces, has been wounded, kill... More
Comments
Comments Pending
1943
Purple Heart
Criteria
The Purple Heart may be awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the Armed Forces, has been wounded, kill... More
Comments
Comments Pending
1943
Air Medal
Criteria
The Air Medal may be awarded to individuals who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces, distinguish themselves by heroism, outstanding achievement, or by meritorious service while partic... More
Comments
Comments Pending
1943
Air Medal
Criteria
The Air Medal may be awarded to individuals who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces, distinguish themselves by heroism, outstanding achievement, or by meritorious service while partic... More
Comments
Comments Pending
1943
Air Medal
Criteria
The Air Medal may be awarded to individuals who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces, distinguish themselves by heroism, outstanding achievement, or by meritorious service while partic... More
Comments
Comments Pending
1943
Asiatic/Pacific Campaign Medal
Criteria
The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal was awarded for for qualifying service within the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946, under any of the following condi... More
Comments
Comments Pending
1943
Asiatic/Pacific Campaign Medal
Criteria
The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal was awarded for for qualifying service within the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946, under any of the following condi... More
Comments
Comments Pending
1943
Asiatic/Pacific Campaign Medal
Criteria
The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal was awarded for for qualifying service within the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946, under any of the following condi... More
Comments
Comments Pending
1943
308th Bombardment Group, Heavy
308th Bombardment Group, Heavy
Rank
Technical Sergeant
AFSC
M 0611-Aerial Gunner
Comments
Comments Pending
1942 - 1943
374th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
374th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
Rank
Technical Sergeant
Location
Pueblo - Colorado
Comments
Comments Pending
1942 - 1943
World War II
Description
Overview of World War II 

World War II killed more people, involved more nations, and cost more money than any other war in history. Altogether, 70 million people served in the armed forces during th
... More
1941 - 1943
World War II
Description
Overview of World War II 

World War II killed more people, involved more nations, and cost more money than any other war in history. Altogether, 70 million people served in the armed forces during th
... More
Memories
From the "CBI Roundup" dated 8 Oct 1943:

KNOCKING DOWN ZEROS HIS BUSINESS & BUSINESS IS GOOD

CHINA AIR BASE - Knocking Zeros out of the China sky is T/Sgt. Arthur J. Benko's business, And business is just fine, thank you. Benko, top turret gunner on one of Col. Eugene H. Beebe's Liberators, has 46 enemy planes confirmed to his credit, which ranks him first among all bomber gunners in the AAF. Last Friday he knocked the incredible number of seven Zeros out of the sky after the Japs engaged his flight in a running 40-minute battle out of Haiphong.

Benko is old as gunners go. He has celebrated his 31st birthday. His hair is liberally sprinkled with silver. But he is close to being a perfect physical specimen. He is six feet tall and carries 180 pounds well. His face is bronzed by Chinese sun and wind and his eyes are clear. He has a 12-year-old daughter, Beatrice June, and, when he talks about her, his eyes brighten and you know his life revolves around the little girl.

Benko, a native of Bisbee, Ariz., is quiet spoken, modest and well liked by the officers and enlisted men of his squadron. He doesn't drink, except, as he says, for an occasional glass of wine with a meal, doesn't play cards and doesn't like dancing. Since arriving overseas, he has learned to play chess and enjoys the game.

Benko's hobby is guns. It's been that way ever since he was a kid and his father first taught him how to shoot. His father was a good teacher, for he was a rifle instructor in World War I - in the German Army. While his dad fought for the Kaiser in 1917, he came to the United States after the war and is proud of his citizenship and
T/Sgt. Arthur J. Benko
allegiance to the Stars and Stripes. Benko's mother was also born in Germany, but shee too has her citizenship papers.

Ever since he can remember, shooting and hunting have been Benko's favorite pastimes. He used to throw tin cans into the air and shoot them down with a .22 caliber rifle. He thinks perhaps this practice has taught him the proper way to "lead" enemy planes into the path of his death-dealing .50 caliber machine guns.

His interest in shooting led him into membership in the Bisbee Rifle and Pistol Club, which is affiliated with the National Rifle Association, and he at one time was president of his city's club. He attended C.M.T.C. camp, where he says he learned a lot about the fine art of shooting. In 1941, the year before he entered the Army, he won the Arizona state championship in the .30 caliber rifle competition at a meet in Fort Huachucha.

For three years he was a member of the Arizona state championship team which competed at the National Rifle shoot at Camp Perry, O. - a competition which annually draws the best shots in the Army Forces, in addition to crack shots from city and state police departments, gun clubs, etc. In 1937, he placed 16th among all civilian participants in the .30 caliber competition at Camp Perry. In 1938, he entered the Dupont Trophy match open to all competitors, military or civilian, and placed sixth despite the fact that he used two borrowed rifles.

An indication of Benko's thoroughness is the fact that he loaded his own ammunition in preparation for match shoots. He carried that thoroughness into the Army with him, for now he "sights" his own machine gun and tests it thoroughly before each mission. He has developed a gadget of his own to help him in the job of shooting down Zeros, but it's a military secret and too much can't be said yet about his development.

He hates the Japs and the only time his quiet voice rose during our interview with him was when we mentioned them. However, he gives them credit for being courageous and persistent. "They don't make only one pass at your ship," he says. " They keep coming back until you either shoot them down or they run out of gas."

There is not the slightest touch of nervousness about Benko. His large, strong hands are steady and there is confidence in every movement. He says: "I guess I just love the smell of burnt gun powder." Once he says he was frightened. That was when a Zero came at him from an angle that didn't give him a shot. "Those guns of his kept blinking at me like a flashlight," he said, "and I tried to crouch closer in the turret. Fortunately, he missed."

Daughter Beatrice June is taking piano lessons and her dad is proud of her progress. She is attending grade school in Bisbee and, when she first heard her father was making a name for himself shooting down enemy planes, she wrote a letter telling him, "There's no limit on Japs, Daddy; you don't even have to ha

























... More
1941 - 1943
Aerial Gunnery School
Aerial Gunnery School
Rank
Private First Class
Location
Las Vegas Gunnery School - Nevada
AFSC
M 0611-Aerial Gunner
Comments
Comments Pending
1942 - 1942
Service from 1942
Training Units
Training Units
Rank
Private
Location
Sheppard Field - Texas
Comments
Comments Pending
1941 - 1942

 
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