Electrician's-Mate Class Kristen F. Heiberg served on six warships during WorldWar II, including the destroyer U.S.S. 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 U.S.S.
GWIN DD-433, which subsequently sank the
BENHAM with gunfire. His later war service included the shakedown cruise of the Fletcher-class destroyer U.S.S.
BELL DD-587, commissioned 1943, the seaplane tender U.S.S.
KENNETH WHITING AV- 1 4, the gasoline tanker U.S.S.
KLASKANINE AOG-63, the attack transport U.S.S.
CRESCENT CITY PA-21, in which he saw further action during the island-hopping U.S. offensive, and the attack cargo ship U.S.S.