Bentson, Peter Morgan, MAJ

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
2162-Operations & Training Staff Officer (G3 S3)
Last MOS Group
Branch Immaterial (Officer)
Primary Unit
1971-1972, 2162, HQ, 3rd [Military] Regional Assistance Command (TRAC) MACV
Service Years
1963 - 1972


Special Forces


Five Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by 1LT Denny Eister to remember Bentson, Peter Morgan (Pete), MAJ.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Quaker Hill, CT
Last Address
Quaker Hill, CT

Casualty Date
Jul 09, 1972
Hostile, Died
Binh Long (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
U.S. Military Academy West Point Post Cemetery - West Point, New York
Wall/Plot Coordinates
01W 055/ Section 34, Row C, Site 114.

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans MemorialThe National Gold Star Family Registry
  2013, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2020, The National Gold Star Family Registry

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award
Parachutist (Basic)

 Unit Assignments
82nd Airborne Division8th Special Forces Group1st Cavalry Division Military Assistance Command Vietnam MACV
  1964-1965, 11A, 82nd Airborne Division
  1965-1966, 1542, 8th Special Forces Group
  1967-1968, 1542, 1st Cavalry Division
  1971-1972, 2162, HQ, 3rd [Military] Regional Assistance Command (TRAC) MACV
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (1968)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase IV Campaign (1968)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase V Campaign (1968)
  1971-1971 Vietnam War/Consolidation I Campaign (1971)
  1971-1972 Vietnam War/Consolidation II Campaign (1971-72)
  1972-1972 Vietnam War/Cease-Fire Campaign (1972-73)
 Colleges Attended 
United States Military Academy
  1959-1963, United States Military Academy
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Peter M. Bentson 1963

1963 Class Crest

Cullum No. 24621 • Jul 9, 1972 • Died in Vietnam

Peter Morgan Bentson’s athletic frame filled a doorway, just as his infectious laugh would fill a room and his boyish ear-to-ear grin would fill your heart. He was born in New London, CT, on Dec 22, 1940, the only child of Brent and Mildred Bentson. Pete showed natural leadership at a young age and was president of his class at New London High School. He also lettered in several sports and was captain of the football team. He would thrive on sports and competition all of his days. At West Point he threw himself into cadet life with the same enthusiasm and energy he had always shown. He played baseball for three years and was manager of the Hockey team before he turned his talents to the collective good by joining the newly formed “Rabble Rousers.” His leadership was obvious, and he was selected in his first class year to command Company E-1.

At graduation he was commissioned Infantry, and after Basic he attended Ranger and Airborne courses before joining the 82nd Airborne Division. At Ft. Bragg he soon married Peg Jupe, the girl from Ossining who had captured Cadet Bentson’s heart when he was a firstie. Hard soldiering and obvious potential soon saw him selected as a Scout Platoon Leader, then Battalion Adjutant of his new unit. It was at Ft. Bragg that Kristine Lynn Bentson was born. Pete was a natural born “Dad,” loving every minute of fatherhood.

After President Kennedy’s decision to expand the Special Forces, Pete was one of the young officers chosen for his potential to help our Army make that change. He served in Panama with the 8th Special Forces Group for two exciting years. Son Eric Todd was born there on Halloween of 1966, and the celebration reflected all of Pete’s joy. He felt out of the main stream in Panama, however, and pushed for an assignment to Vietnam.

In 1967 the Personnel Center answered his wishes and sent Pete to the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam where he commanded two companies. He was highly decorated and served with a level of distinction that assured his accelerated promotion to major. Following the Advanced Course, he attended the prestigious Naval Postgraduate School. To Pete’s great joy, a third child, daughter Jodie, was born during his time on the Monterey peninsula.

On his second Vietnam tour, he was assigned to the Third Regional Assistance Command. True to form, Pete was a junior major holding down a full colonel’s position as Corps level G3 when, on July 9, 1972, a single round from a North Vietnamese recoilless rifle took him along with MG Richard Tallman ’49, COL Stanley Kuick ’52, and two other officers. Peter Bentson died a soldier’s death “beneath a soldier’s blow” and was honored accordingly. Family, friends and classmates came from around the world to lay him in “a soldier’s resting place” at the West Point Cemetery not far from other dearly loved classmates.

His 1963 Howitzer write-up fairly captured his essence:  From the beginning, Pete has always been the guy to be near. This big ‘Swede’ is one long memory of the best times. Always a leader in every aspect of cadet life, his ability to command any situation will always find him in the winner’s circle.

Pete was a tireless and motivated professional who worked hard. It was his intense loyalty to friends that kept him always surrounded by a band of dedicated buddies—partners in work, sports, and fun. To be embraced into that cohort meant you were in for better than your share of fun; more importantly, you were joining a support group manned by the finest American soldiers around. Any one of them would pull you out of a tight spot on a moment’s notice without blinking an eye. He was a patriot, a compelling natural leader of men, and he was endowed with a sharp analytical mind and tireless drive to get the job done.

Pete gave two hundred percent to his young family. What a grandfather he’d have been. We all know Pete was smiling down when his widow Peg married his friend, classmate, and former bachelor roommate Tom Carney. Pete has been gone for four decades now—half our lifetime—but our memory of him lives on. As the rest of us start on our final laps around the track, hobbling a bit now and breathing harder to keep up, we see Pete ahead in the hazy distance charging on ever youthful in our memory. He’s frozen like Keats’ athlete on the urn at the prime of his too-short life. He’s out in front kicking hard even as he urges, cajoles, and presses the rest of us to levels we’d not otherwise have reached.

He died a soldier’s death on foreign soil doing what duty, honor and country compelled him to do. Yet, even as we mourn his passing, grieve the loss of what could have been, we celebrate who Pete was and what he brought each of us during his short stay on earth. Rest easy, old friend, and fear not, we’ll be closing ranks with you presently. The gang will all be there before you know it.

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