Chief Master Sergeant (Retired) Alcide (Bull) Sylvio Benini, 93 years young, died April 16, 2015, under hospice care in the Hampton Veterans Administration Hospital.
Alcide joined the Army on May 6, 1940, arrived in the Philippines June 1940, and was captured April 7, 1942. He survived the Bataan Death March, Japanese Death Ships and the Japanese POW camps, serving three years and four months, until the end of World War II. He returned to the U.S. on October 15, 1945. After his release he served with the 82nd Airborne Division Pathfinder platoon. During his assignment to the Pathfinder Platoon, Benini was fully trained as a Master Parachutist. In January 1953 he left the Army and enlisted in the United States Air Force to establish the Air Force Pathfinders later renamed Combat Controllers. He achieved the rank of Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt) and was in the running for the first CMSgt of the Air Force. Named in his honor is the Benini Heritage Center and Museum located at the Combat Control School at Pope Field, N.C. He was inducted into the inaugural class of the Combat Control Association’s Hall of Fame in October 2013.
Alcide is survived by his sister Anna Thomas; brother Frank Benini; and his children, Michael and Christopher Benini, Jane Ables, Lisa and Lori Benini, grandchildren Brittany and Kaylee Ables, Daniel and Isabella Benini.
He was preceded in death by his father Luigi, mother Elvira, sister Ancilla and brother Adriano.
He was a true hero to both his nation and his family and will be truly missed.
Rather than flowers, donations may be made to the Combat Control School Heritage Foundation (CCSHF) or any veteran organization of your choice.