Captain John Benien
Captain John Benien attended OU from 1960 to 1964 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Finance Branch. He was an active member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and an OU football letterman. John graduated from Law School at Tulsa University and became a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association in 1967. Later the next year he was called to active duty and served as a military advisor in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam with the U.S. Army’s 2nd Corps where he earned the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. On February 13th 1969 in Da Lat South Viet Nam, Lieutenant Benien was caught in an ambush and killed in action. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of captain. In a letter to his widow, the Chief of Staff of the Army, General William Westmoreland wrote, “The priceless gift of life is the noblest one a soldier can make to protect his loved ones at home, and to safeguard the cherished beliefs for which his nation stands. Our strength and security rest on the loyalty and devotion of American soldiers who today safeguard freedom as did American soldiers in earlier times of national peril. You can treasure the thought that for his gift of life, your husband is noble among men who share the blessings of freedom.” Captain John Benien was known as a man of great character, but because his life ended far too early, his family would never witness the contributions he would have most certainly made to his community; however, his sacrifice for his country will never be forgotten among his brothers and sisters commissioned from his alma mater.