The Costa Family

Our Travels, Hobbies, and Family

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Chronological Report... 
In Search of the U.S.S. Bennington (CV-20) 
(Looking for a Picture suitable for framing)

November 28, 1996...AM

Thanksgiving Day. After my husband, Charlie, bragged how he could find "anything" on the internet, 
he went online with my father, Richard (Dick) Hill,who was visiting for Thanksgiving 
and, just for fun, made an attempt to find information on the U.S.S. Bennington, 
the aircraft carrier that my Dad had served on in WWII. 
Nothing was found by the time my parents had to go back home. 
Oh, oh... now it was a matter of honor!

November 28, 1996...PM

Company Gone...Back on the net...on with the search! 
He found a picture of the "Benny" picking up one of the Apollo Spacecraft Crews in the late sixties. 
Then he thought... why not look for a picture of the Bennington that would be suitable 
for framing. Shouldn't be too difficult... He could get it by Christmas... No sweat! 
And what a great Christmas present it would be! 

December 11, 1996...

After finding a new search engine called HotBot, Charlie went back on the net, 
and entered U.S.S. Bennington. Still... more pictures of the Benny 
picking up the Apollo Crews but there was one more small search result...

The Bennington Museum, Bennington, Vermont. Hmmmm, let's try that! 
Little did my husband know what was about to unfold by this contact... 

December 12, 1996...

Charlie e-mailed the Bennington Museum asking for information 
on getting a picture of the USS Bennington. 

December 15, 1996

Not hearing anything from the Museum and getting nervous with Christmas quickly 
approaching he emailed the Museum again with more detailed information thinking 
that maybe the new curator wasn't familiar with the history of the Bennington and her 
ties with Bennington, Vermont. 

December 24, 1996

Christmas Eve !!! Received a letter (snail mail) from Stuart A. Hurd, Town Manager, Bennington, Vt 
with two photos of the Benny along with a Resolution from the Town of Bennington, VT 
honoring her and her 51st reunion. But most important, included in this "package" 
was the name and address of a Bill Copeland, a reunion association member 
who has access to a great quantity of memorabilia. 

December 26, 1996

Still no Picture...Maybe I could have that picture by January would make a 
nice birthday gift. Received a letter from Tyler Resch, museum librarian and 
also received great photos of the Bennington during WWII...Still not the 
picture I was looking for but at least I was getting someplace...getting 
very excited. 

December 26,1996

Called Bill Copeland and made arrangements to meet with him on Saturday December 28 
at 3:00 Pm. During our phone conversation I learned that Bill was stationed 
on the Bennington during the Vietnam war after she was renovated saying that his pictures 
of her would not be recognizable to anyone who served with her during WWII. They 
had since added another flight deck that angled off of the port side. But he did mention 
that he had some artifacts that might be of interest to us. 

December 28, 1996

Charlie and I drove to Maynard, Mass. to visit with Willard (Bill) Copeland. We found 
a handsome fellow in his early fifties, very hospitable and one of those people that after 
you talk to for a few minutes you feel you have known them all you life. 
A perfect setting to feel relaxed so as to be able to recall and ask all our questions 
pertaining to your mission. 
This meeting, by far, as you will see, will turn out to be 
the most important in our quest for the Bennington - But Most Important... 
a person to contact who is the best "historian" of Bennington information around...

Bill then gave us our second big lead: 
Rupert Marshall, Monessen, Pa. a flight crew member during WWII, 
who now helps with the reunions, and sells logo items for the Bennington enthusiasts. 

December 30, 1996...

Charlie called Rupert, and learned that he had been a Signalman 
on the Benny during WWII. He kept track of all the guys that attend the reunions. 
We ordered some things for my Dad...a hat, a sweatshirt, and a ship's patch, 
as well as asking for a good quality picture. He said he had one he thought 
we would like, and when he heard our address, he laughed, and said 
there was a shipmate living in Stoughton, and he'd include his address in the package! 
Another link back to the past. 

January 9, 1997...

It turned out that John Connolly, a signalman in WWII, and another plank owner, 
was a neighbor of ours, right over on the next street! 
We visited John and his wife, and heard some stories of those times on the Bennington, 
some funny and some sad...

We also learned of Some well known WWII crewmembers: 
Former Governor John Connolly of Texas, (no relation to our neighbor), 
who was also a plank owner, and the CIC officer on the Bennington. 
Jerry Clower, comedian and well-known performer at the Grande Ole' Opry, in Nashville, TN.(Now, sad to say, deceased) 

January 18, 1997...

Dad's Birthday (his 80th) had arrived, and the whole family travelled to Wethersfield, Conn. 
to help him celebrate. Children and grandchildren all attended and sat listening 
to the story of the "Quest" and all the wonderful people who helped 
to make it a so memorable. The gifts were much appreciated, and Yes... 
We were able to get a large picture of the USS Bennington framed and ready 
to hang in a place of honor in Dad's Room. Dad now enjoys corresponding 
with the new friends he made because of the "Quest".

What a wonderful thing the Internet is!

My Dad hung this picture proudly in his Radio Shack (Ham Radio Operator-W1QBH) 
until he passed on May 17, 2002 
He was a Communication's Officer on the "Benny".


Please let me know how you like the page, 
And if you have any more links I can add about the Bennington! Thanks! 

Now back to:

My Bennington CV-20 Page