Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Az — Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona recently held a dedication ceremony to name its fitness center after World War II veteran, Tech. Sgt. Arthur J. Benko. Airmen and members of the Desert Lightning team attended the ceremony to show support and to pay respects to Benko, who was a turret gunner aboard a B-24 bomber aircraft during World War II.
In addition to a four-man A-10 flyover by the 358th Fighter Squadron, the event featured an HH-60 flyover with a landing at the base track with Tech. Sgt. David Rogers, aerial gunner from the 55th Electronic Group who impersonated Sergeant Benko, wearing the 1950s style Air Forces military uniform.
During a World War II mission in 1943, Benko's aircraft had severe engine trouble, and he had to exit the aircraft and parachute to safety. Sergeant Benko was lost near Hong Kong, never to be heard from again, according to a statement from the Air Force.
Benko is most remembered for being a skilled gunner.
“Sergeant Arthur Benko's skill as a gunner was unmatched during his time in combat,” says Colonel Kent Laughbaum, 355th Fighter Wing commander. “If he had survived World War II, it is conceivable that Sergeant Benko would have been the most deadly turret gunner of all time.”