John F. Bense

Philadelphia Memorial Panel: Panel 2
National Memorial Panel / Row: East 18 / 40
Date of Birth: 07-May-1945
Neighborhood: Holmesburg
High School: Father Judge High School
Street: Meridian St.
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: SGT
Date of Casualty: 17-Apr-1967
Province of Casualty: Pleiku
"Jack" Bense was a true Sportsman. Coaches remember him as a gifted athlete who played hard but fair, and might have made it in professional football. He won the outstanding class athlete award when he graduated from Father Judge High School in 1963. At 6 foot-2 and 200 pounds, he was an all-Catholic tackle and received an all-state football team honorable mention. Bense attended the University of Tulsa briefly on a football scholarship and worked construction before being drafted into the Army in November 1965. The sergeant was sent to Vietnam in July 1966, where he was assigned to Company C of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. The 2l year old team leader was killed on April 17, 1967, after throwing a body block on his platoon leader to save him from a live grenade. Father Judge gives the Sgt. John F. Bense Award each year to an outstanding graduating athlete. Bense�s greatest dream, his parents said, "was to return home and resume a normal life with his family in the neighborhood he loved." In addition to his parents, he was survived by a brother and two sisters. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.