Toledo World War II veteran turns 100
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Local World War II veteran Orvil M. Benskin turned 100 today! Benskin was born and raised in Napoleon, Ohio, and graduated from Napoleon High School in 1940.
After working for Ford up in Detroit for a couple years after high school, Benskin enlisted in the Navy in 1942, serving for 3 years aboard the destroyer USS Nicholas, one of the most decorated ships in the American fleet. In honor of all it had been through, the USS Nicholas took part in the official Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay in 1945.
“We took all the higher wigs of the different countries out to the Missouri,” recalls Benskin.
After transporting dignitaries to and from the USS Missouri, Benskin and the USS Nicholas headed up to Sendai, Japan to help bring home American POWs.
“They had a prison camp up there,” Benskin told us. “We were up there and brought all of them that were able to be out and about down to Tokyo.”
Benskin’s family has a long military history. Orvil’s grandfather fought in the Civil War, his father was in the National Guard, and his uncle fought in the Spanish-American War. Then, Orvil’s son was in the Navy during the Cold War, one granddaughter was in the Army, another is currently in the Coast Guard, and he even has a great-grandson in the Marines now.
Benskin returned home to Napoleon after getting out of the Navy himself just before Christmas 1945, where he’s lived ever since. Over the past 77 years Benskin has built quite a large family: 3 children, 11 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and even 2 great-great-grandchildren! And all those family members are grateful for Benskin’s longevity.
“Hope I got that gene,” Orvil’s son Rodger told us.
“I feel very blessed that we still have him,” added Orvil’s daughter Deb Waisner.
Benskin’s family will be hosting a big 100th birthday party for him on Saturday, and that big family is looking forward to getting together again. Benskin says aside from keeping his chair warm, he enjoys reading and woodworking and is looking forward to what the next 100 years will bring.
As for his secret for getting through the last 100 years, Benskin said, “Well, being good! Don’t try to drink the bars out or anything like that.”
Reporting in Napoleon, Derek Witt, 13abc Action News.
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