History of the USS Benewah following its distinguished service in the United States Navy
The following account has been verified by several on the crew including Captain JG Pizarro MC (Philippine Navy). Captain Pizarro states: “I spoke to two (2) CPOs here in my unit, one of whom was (of all people) my own POIC in the Operating Room. They both confirmed what was written in the Philippine Navy history book.
According to Captain Pizarro the Benewah was converted into a hospital ship for the Phillipine Navy. The AH-3 Ospital ng Tulungan ( formerly the USS Benewah) was indeed improved, repaired, even repainted white with a red cross at the middle hull, and stocked with supplies and medicines.
While all this refurbishing was going on at the Mariveles, Bataan Shipyards, an acetylene tank blew up inside the ship which caused a fire, thus severely damaging the AH-3. Apparently, after stocking the ship, it was never used as a hospital ship after the explosion and fire. Captain Pizarro further states “My POIC further informed me that after that (the fire), there were no more attempts to repair the ship – it was towed somewhere to the Southern Philippines and was, according to him, used as a barracks ship but where and for how long, he could not remember.” He further states “Maybe after the fire, the Benewah was indeed sunk and used as a barrier reef, but I don’t know where.”
I just thought you might want to know what fate did your ship did actually have after it left the service of the USN. Happy Halloween and best regards sir!
CPT JG PIZARRO MC (PN)
The above account was verified by crew member Harold Hugo who wrote the following:
“I WAS TOLD THAT THE BENEWAH WAS BEING CONVERTED TO A HOSPITAL SHIP BY RANDY ELLIS, WHO WAS HER ENGINEERING OFFICER IN 1952/53, WHEN I RELIEVED HIM UNDERWAY TO NAPLES ITALY IN 1953. HE SUBSEQUENTLY WORKED FOR THE NAVY DEPARTMENT, AND SAW THE SHIP IN SUBIC BAY, AND EVEN MADE A PHOTO THERE, AND GAVE IT TO ME. THIS CAN BE VERIFIED BY CONTACTING HIM VIA TELEPHONE AT 207-474-0576. I USED TO HAVE HIS EMAIL ADDRESS BUT CAN’T FIND IT NOW.”
~ May She Rest in Peace following her Valiant Service ~