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Commander Benton served in Japan, Vietnam

Now in civilian life, Commander Reid Benton serves as educational director for Tennessee Valley Fly Fishers. CONTRIBUTED
Now in civilian life, Commander Reid Benton serves as educational director for Tennessee Valley Fly Fishers. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – After entering the U.S. Navy in 1965, Robert ‘Reid’ Benton served until 1977. He then served in the U.S. Navy Reserves until 1995.

“I retired as Navy Commander after 30 years of service as a Naval Aviator,” Benton said.

Benton completed Naval Flight Training in Pensacola, Fla. and served in Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 1, NAS Ream Field, Imperial Beach, Calif.

He served at Atsugi, Japan and all across Vietnam with Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 7 Flying Vertrep, Medevac and Search and Rescue. He flew from U.S. Navy ships, USS Mars and USS Niagara Falls.

Back in Pensacola, Benton was a fixed-wing flight instructor in VT 1 and then was assigned to Tactical Air Control Squadron in San Diego, Calif. “We deployed USS Blue Ridge back to Vietnam. On return, I was assigned to Point Loma, Calif. as Command-And-Control Manager for Computer Programming facility,” Benton said.

In 1977, Benton flew with HS -75, NAS Lakehurst, N.J. and then HS -7, NAS Willow Grove, Pa. His Last Reserve Duty was standing Command Duty Officer watches for the air station.

After leaving active service, Benton worked for RCA in Moorestown, N.J., which became General Electric, Martin Marietta and Lockheed Martin, where he retired. He designed for both Aegis Cruisers and Destroyers.

As Aegis Program/Marketing Manager for Lockheed Martin in Moorestown, Benton visited this area on a proposal with The Boeing Company. “I stayed and worked on a proposal for Tactical Ballistic Missile Defense (TBMD) for NATO,” he said.

“We made Madison our home,” he said. His wife of 50 years, Sally, is an Alabama native.

Their son Jim Benton and wife Christi live in Raleigh, N.C. with his daughter Emily, 15, and twins Tyler and Mitchell, 14. Their son Fred Benton lives in Lake Tahoe.

Reid Benton served on Hospice Family Care’s board for six years. He serves as educational director for Tennessee Valley Fly Fishers. Benton teaches fly fishing, casting and fly tying and mentors Boy Scouts for that merit badge.

The Bentons deliver “Meals On Wheels” and attend Asbury United Methodist Church.

He earned degrees at Southern Technical Institute in Marietta, Ga. and Chapman College in Orange, Calif. Benton finished classwork for a MBA with Pepperdine University in California.

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