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First Name: Mervyn

Last Name: Bennion

Birthplace: Vernon, UT, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Home of Record: Annapolis, MD
Middle Name: Sharp

Date of Birth: 05 May 1887

Date of Death: 04 December 1941

Rank or Rate: Captain

Years Served: 1910-1941
Mervyn Sharp Bennion

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1910

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Mervyn Sharp Bennion
Captain, U.S. Navy
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Captain Mervyn Sharp Bennion (5 May 1887 - 7 December 1941) was a U.S. Navy officer who died during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. While mortally wounded, he remained in command of his ship and he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Mervyn Sharp Bennion was born in Vernon, Utah Territory, on 5 May 1887. Bennion was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His Welsh grandfather, John Bennion, had immigrated to Utah with the Mormon pioneers and established successful cattle operations near Taylorsville, UT. Bennion graduated third in his 1910 class from the U.S. Naval Academy. Coincidentally, his younger brother Howard Bennion graduated first in his class of 1912 at the U.S. Military Academy.

His first assignment after graduation was on the USS California (ACR-6) in the engineering division. Bennion became an ordnance and gunnery specialist. During World War I, he commanded the batteries aboard the USS North Dakota (BB-29).

Bennion's first command was the destroyer USS Bernadou (DD-153), followed by command of Destroyer Division One. He assumed command of the USS West Virginia on 2 July 1941.

Captain Bennion was killed in action during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941, while in command of the battleship USS West Virginia (BB-48). Captain Bennion was hit by shrapnel from a bomb that blew up part of his command deck. Cook Third Class Doris Miller and several other sailors attempted to move Bennion to a first aid station, but Bennion refused to leave his post. Using one arm to hold his wounds closed, he bled to death while still commanding his crew. Captain Bennion was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Navy.

Place and date: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 7 December 1941.

Citation: For conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. As Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. West Virginia, after being mortally wounded, Capt. Bennion evidenced apparent concern only in fighting and saving his ship, and strongly protested against being carried from the bridge.


On 4 July 1943, the destroyer USS Bennion (DD-662), named in his honor, was christened by his widow, Louise Bennion.

Media Honor

Captain Bennion was portrayed by actor Peter Firth in the 2001 film, Pearl Harbor.

Death and Burial

Captain Mervyn Sharp Bennion was killed in action on 7 December 1941. He is buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery in Salt Lake City, UT, in West-3-148-1-Cent.

Honoree ID: 1288   Created by: MHOH




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