Lingering Question Answered
Dewey W. Lambdin
In response to the article in the February 2011 issue regarding the 26 May 1954 explosion and fire on board the USS Bennington (CVA-20) (“Fire Down Below!” pp. 58–63), my father, Lieutenant Dewey W. Lambdin, was the aircraft carrier’s administrative officer at the time and was one of the many fatalities.
When he was first assigned to the Bennington, I remember that we drove down to the Brooklyn Navy Yard to put his footlocker and gear aboard, and we stood for the longest time on the pier near the starboard bow, just looking up at her. I was eager to go aboard and get a tour, but my father seemed reluctant, as if she were a “hoodoo” ship.
He was later on leave with us in East Tennessee but was called back at short notice, and with bad airline connections and bad weather, missed her sailing and had to be flown out to the ship. He was scheduled to leave her in July and hoped to do a “sundowner” last few years in Washington, D.C., to complete 30 years’ service.