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Waving US Flag

NavSource Naval History
Photographic History of the United States Navy


Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign - NHLD

Tactical Voice Radio Call Sign (circa 1945) - SPARKPLUG

Displacement 2924 Tons (Full), Dimensions, 376' 5"(oa) x 39' 7" x 13' 9" (Max)
Armament 5 x 5"/38AA, 10 x 40mm, 7 x 20mm AA, 10 x 21" tt.(2x5).
Machinery, 60,000 SHP; General Electric Geared Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 38 Knots, Range 6500 NM@ 15 Knots, Crew 273.
Operational and Building Data
Laid down by Bethlehem Steel , Staten Island NY April 3 1943.
Launched August 30 1943 and commissioned December 20 1943.
Decommissioned October 18 1946, recommissioned March 24 1951.
Decommissioned December 15 1960.
Stricken January 15 1974.
To Peru December 15 1960, renamed Villar.
Fate Stricken and broken up for scrap in 1980.

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Size Image Description Contributed
Benham 100kAndrew Ellicot Kennedy Benham was born on 10 April 1832 on Staten Island, N.Y. He was appointed a midshipman on 24 November 1847 and served in the East Indies Squadron on board the sloop of war Plymouth in 1847 and 1848 and on board the brig Dolphin in 1849 and 1850. In the latter warship, he participated in the capture of a pirate Chinese junk near Macao, China. During this action, he received a pike wound in the thigh. After another tour of duty in Plymouth followed by one in the frigate Saranac, Benham attended the Naval Academy in 1852 and early 1853. On 10 June 1853, he was promoted to passed midshipman. From mid 1853 to early 1857, he served in the sloop of war St. Mary's on the Pacific Station. On 16 September 1855, while still in St. Mary's, Benham was commissioned a lieutenant. He next served a tour of duty with the Coast Survey late in 1857 and early in 1858. Later that year, he was transferred to the steamer Western Port assigned to the expedition sent to Paraguay to extract an apology for shooting at the gunboat Water Witch. In 1860, he moved to the steamer Crusader in the Home Squadron. After the Civil War broke out, Lt. Benham served on board the steamer Bienville in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and, in her, took part in the capture of Port Royal, S.C., on 7 November 1861. On the date that rank was established, 16 July 1862, Benham was promoted to lieutenant commander. Following brief service in Sacramento in 1863, he assumed command of the gunboat Penobscot and served in her through the end of the Civil War, patrolling the Texas coast as part of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. Upon the return of peace, he served at the New York Navy Yard from 1866 to 1870, but for a stint of duty in Susquehanna in 1867. Following duty as a lighthouse inspector in 1870 and 1871, Benham commanded first Canonicus and then Saugus, both on the North Atlantic Station and returned to lighthouse inspecting in 1874. After commanding Richmond on the Asiatic Station between 1878 and 1881, he went to the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard. The years 1885 and 1886 brought him his third tour of duty as lighthouse inspector. Following a tour of duty at League Island, Pa., in 1888, he became commandant of the Mare Island Navy Yard in 1889. While there he became Rear Admiral Benham in February 1890 and continued at that post until June of 1891. At the end of a year waiting for orders, he assumed command of the South Atlantic Station in June 1892. However, Rear Admiral Benham was soon transferred to command the North Atlantic Station, flying his flag in San Francisco (Cruiser No. 1). When Admiral Custodio de Mello launched his naval revolt in Rio de Janeiro in late 1893, Rear Admiral Benham commanded the American naval units sent there to protect American citizens and interests. Retired from the Navy on 10 April 1894, Rear Admiral Benham died on 11 August 1905 at Lake Mahopac, N.Y.Tony Cowart/Robert M. Cieri/Bill Gonyo
Benham 77kArtist's conception of the Benham by the renowned graphic illustrator John Barrett with the text written by naval author and historian Robert F. Sumrall. Their company Navy Yard Associates offers prints of most destroyers, destroyer escorts, submarines and aircraft carriers in various configurations during the ship's lifetime. The prints can be customized with ship's patches, your photograph, your bio, etc. If you decide to purchase artwork from them please indicate that you heard about their work from NavSource.Navy Yard Associates
Benham 28kUndated, location unknown.John T. Sharpe
Benham 45kUndated, postcard of the Benham.Joe Radigan
Benham 70kUndated, WWII in the Pacific Theater. The ship is painted in camouflage Measure 31, Design 2c.Nicholas Camenares
Benham 109kUndated, location unkown.Bill Gonyo
Benham 97kUndated, location unkown.Richard Miller BMCS USNR RET.
Benham 60kWestern Mediterranean May 1953.Marc Piché
Benham 104kPhoto #: NH 103756, USS Benham (DD-796) underway at sea, circa 1959. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.Tony Cowart
Benham 79kCirca 1959 on a deployment from the United Kingdom to Australia. Photo by Mark's grandfather. From Left to right: probably the USS Beale (DD-471), USS Massey (DD-778), USS Benham (DD-796), USS Murray (DD-576), USS Bache (DD-470) and USS Eaton (DD-510).Mark Tylinski
Benham 110kView of BENHAM post-1950, in common distribution to the public in the 1960's.John Chiquoine
Benham 40kShip's patch.Mike Smolinski
On Peruvian Service
Benham 143kThe Peruvian destroyer Villar (ex-USS Benham, DD-796) launching a torpedo in this undated photo.Bill Gonyo
Benham 73kPhoto #: NH 87840, Villar (Peruvian Destroyer, formerly USS Benham, DD-796) ship's crew salutes the flag of Peru as the ship is placed in commission, probably on 15 December 1960, the day she was transferred from the U.S. Navy. Courtesy of Dr. Robert L. Scheina. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.Tony Cowart
Benham 89kAlmirante Villar (D 76, ex-USS Benham, DD-796) underway, circa 1961, location unknown. Photo Peruvian Navy Offical. Photo from "Jane's Fighting Ships" 1961-62 edition.Robert Hurst
Benham 55kCirca 1967, location unknown.Robert Hurst
Benham 81kBAP Villar (71, ex-USS Benham) underway, circa 1971.Robert Hurst / Dave Wright
Benham 68kPeruvian destroyers Villar (ex-USS Benham, DD-796) in the background with the Palacios (ex-HMS Diana) in the foreground. September 1973, location unknown.Robert Hurst

USS BENHAM DD-796 History
View This Vessels DANFS History Entry
(Located On The hazegray Web Site, This Is The Main Archive For The DANFS Online Project.)

Commanding Officers
Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves

CDR Erle Van Emburgh Dennett    Dec 20 1943 - May 12 1944

CDR Frederic Seward Keeler    May 12 1944 - Jun 3 1945

LCDR William Linsay Poindexter    Jun 3 1945 - Sep 1 1946

LCDR Arthur Frank Berry Jr.    Sep 1 1946 - Oct 18 1946

(Decommissioned Oct 18 1946 - Mar 24 1951)

CDR Allen Pearcy Cook Jr.    Mar 24 1951 - Aug 2 1952

CDR James Thompson Hodgson Jr.    Aug 2 1952 - Sep 9 1954

CDR Roderick Osgood Middleton    Sep 9 1954 - Jan 1956 (Later RADM)

CDR Thomas Eldredge Williamson Jr.    Jan 1956 - ?

CDR Robert Adam Seelinger    ? 1959 - ? 1959

CDR John Wesley Logan    ? 1959 - Jun 29 1960

Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Contact Name: John Bowerman
Address: 7199 W. Sundown Court, Frederick, MD 21702
Phone: (301)663-8035

Note About Contacts.

The contact listed, Was the contact at the time for this ship when located. If another person now is the contact, E-mail me and I will update this entry. These contacts are compiled from various sources over a long period of time and may or may not be correct. Every effort has been made to list the newest contact if more than one contact was found.

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
USS Benham website
Tin Can Sailors Website
Destroyer History Foundation
Destroyers Online Website
Official U.S.Navy Destroyer Website

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This page was created by Fred Willishaw (ex ARG-4, AS-11 & DD-692) and is maintained by David L. Wright
All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
Last Updated 15 October 2017