Benton, Mortimer Murray (P2, C4, L39)
Major Mortimer Murray Benton, 37, of Lexington, Fayette County, was killed on August 16, 1943 in a vehicle accident during combat in Sicily. The vehicle he was riding in dropped off a bridge just blown by the retreating German forces. The Allies Sicily Campaign ended the next day. The German and Italian forces were completing an orderly withdrawal from Sicily to Italy using mines, demolitions and other obstacles to delay the allied forces advance.
Benton enlisted in the Kentucky National Guard in February 1926 serving with Troop C of the 53rd Machine Gun Squadron while attending the University of Kentucky. On 1 April 1930 the unit was redesignated as Troop B of the 123rd Cavalry. During his time he was promoted from Private to First Sergeant. He was promoted to Second Lieutenant on 30 April 1930. In May 1930 he moved to the inactive rolls and attended Flying Cadet training for two months at March Field in California from mid June to mid August 1930. He returned and continued to serve with his unit. He apparently did not receive a pilot rating. In Jun 1934, then living in Ft. Thomas, he was promoted to First Lieutenant and worked as a salesman for the Lubrizol Chemical Company.
In April 1935 he began serving as the Adjutant for the 3rd Squadron of the 123rd. Benton was promoted to Captain in May 1940 serving with Headquarters of the 123rd Cavalry. By this time he had returned to live in Lexington and had graduated from the Louisville's Jefferson School of Law in 1939. He was inducted into federal service with his unit in December 1940 and the unit was redesignated as Headquarters 103rd Coast Artillery. Members began training at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. In April 1942 he finished an Anti Aircraft Refresher Course had his unit was no the 103rd Separate Coast Artillery Battalion (Anti Aircraft). Benton was promoted to Major in December 1942
Benton, born April 12, 1906 in Fayette County was a graduate of Lexington High School. He attended the Citizens Military Training Camp learning Cavalry in August of 1922. He attended the University of Kentucky majoring in commerce and military science for three and half years. He also participated in the ROTC program at UK.
His civilian occupations included Broker, Salesman; Internal Revenue Service and lawyer. Benton was married to the daughter of A. H. Bowman – the namesake of Louisville's Bowman Field. He had two daughters.
Benton's remains were returned and he was laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery in December 1948. He is buried in Section 12qq, grave 7170.