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Admiral William S. Benson, First Chief of Naval Operations

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  • Join Benson Assembly (must be a 3rd Degree Member)
  • Fallen Heroes Memorial Site: Name, State, Branch of Service, Date of Death

For a detailed history of the 4th Degree, of our  Assembly, of its founders and for more information on the patriotic and religious principles for which we stand.

Admiral Benson Assembly 381 is a very active assembly with patriotic programs and charitable activities dedicated to the Church and Community. Our Assembly has an active Color

The Sir Knights of Admiral Benson Assembly Congratulate
Commodore John Barry Council at the US Naval Academy
Council No. 14534
Worthy Chaplain, Fr. Aidan Logan

We also salute the new Sir Knights who took the Exemplification of the Fourth Degree in April, 2010!


Corps and participates in various civic programs. The Assembly meets at one of five Council homes on a rotating basis. For more information, contact FN Michael Dunn, PGK,  Monsignor Raymond P. Kelly Council #10966 , or write to the Assembly at: Comptroller & PFN Bob Welenc,  Admiral William S. Benson Assembly, 511 Chad Avenue, Severn, MD 21144-2132;  Email: bob_welenc "AT" cablespeed "DOT" com;  410-969-8303  (home), 410-487-1730 (cell).

The Assembly is named for Admiral William S. Benson, USN .  A full biosketch of Admiral Benson is available from the Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center , 805 Kidder Breese SE, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., 20374. The following sketch is taken in large measure from his official on-line Navy biography.

Admiral William S. Benson USN, was a distinguished Catholic Naval officer and a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus. William Shepherd Benson was born in Macon, Georgia on September 25th, 1855. After completion of his studies at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1877, he was Admiral William S. Benson, USN, Chief of Naval Operations, circa 1916-1919 on active sea duty including a tour aboard the USS Dolphin . He was also active in coastal surveying and hydrologic duties, was an instructor at the Naval Academy, commanded the cruiser USS Albany and served as a flag aide and fleet chief of staff.

In 1911, Captain Benson became the first Commanding Officer of the battleship USS Utah (BB-31) . He was Commandant of the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1913-1915, and from there was ordered to Washington, D.C. where he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral and became the Navy's first Chief of Naval Operations (CNO).

Benson was heavily involved in defining the functions of the new CNO position and strengthening the Navy during a period marked by internal Navy Department tensions, U.S. interventions in the Caribbean and Central America, and the European War crisis. Promoted to the rank of Admiral in 1916, his responsibilities greatly expanded when the United States entered the First World War in April, 1917. Over the next year and a half, he oversaw a huge expansion of the Navy, the extension of its operations to European waters and the transportation of the United States' Army to France. After the November 1918 Armistice, he was an active participant in the lengthy peace negotiations held in France.

Admiral Benson retired from Naval Service in September, 1919. Over the next decade, he was active in the leadership of the U.S. Shipping Board. Admiral Benson died in Washington, D.C. on May 20, 1932.

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The Assembly meets on the second Tuesday of every month at one of five Council homes on a rotating basis including: Annapolis Council, #1384, Archbishop Keough Council, #5263, Fr. Michael J. McGivney Council, #7025, South County Council, #8251 and Saint Bernadette's Council #11214.  Meetings start at 8:00 PM. The Assembly's Newsletter posted in July/August and February gives the location of Assembly meetings and events for the year.  We also have a Yahoo Email Group open to all Assembly members, their wives and their widows and families.

The Assembly has had a storied history and tradition . It has been active in and around the U.S. Naval Academy and Anne Arundel County since its inception. We have been graced with many distinguished members over our long history.  Our motto, " Non sibi sed patria " is taken from the U.S. Navy motto meaning, "Not for self, but for country."

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This page was last updated on: February 21, 2011

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