Electrician's-Mate Class Kristen F. Heiberg served on six warships during WorldWar II, including the destroyer USS Benham (DD-397). While serving on the Benham, Mr. Heiberg participated in the ferrying of planes to Wake Island just before Pearl Harbor, witnessed the immediate aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack, accompanied the Doolittle raid on Tokyo, in which Benham fired on Japanese fishing vessels engaging in clandestine scouting for the enemy, the Battle of Midway, in which Benham rescued 721 survivors from the carrier Yorktown, and later rescued survivors from the destroyer Hammann after both Yorktown and Hammann were torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-168. On the night of 15 November 1942, during the Battle of Guadalcanal, Mr. Heiberg was in a forward compartment on the Benham, when a Japanese warship blew off the destroyer's bow with a torpedo. He and the rest of the crew abandoned ship in the darkness and were recovered by the USS Gwin (DD-433), which subsequently sank the Benham with gunfire. His later war service included the shakedown cruise of the Fletcher-class destroyer USS Bell (DD-587), commissioned 1943, the seaplane tender USS Kenneth Whiting (AV-14), the gasoline tanker USS Klaskanine (AOG-63), the attack transport USS Crescent City (PA-21), in which he saw further action during the island-hopping U.S. offensive, and the attack cargo ship USS Algol (AKA-54).
Gift of Kristen F. Heiberg
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