|4th Division landing at Utah Beach on D-Day, Oscar Benway's unit|
Oscar E. Benway could have been 100 years old today.
He was born on January 5, 1917, possibly in Canada, to an American father and Canadian mother. He had an older brother and a younger brother. Someone who would become far more famous was also born on this same day in St. Joseph, Missouri - Jane Wyman.
Oscar may have followed Wyman's movie career as she got more prominent roles in the late 1930's and early 1940's. She became Mrs. Ronald Reagan in 1940 and in 1941 she made a movie that a young man like Oscar may have seen, You're in the Army Now. The movie became a item of trivia because Wyman and costar Regis Toomey set the record for longest screen kiss at 3 minutes 5 seconds.
|Ronald Reagan stands behind wife Jane Wyman who was born the same day as Oscar Benway.|
Oscar enlistment records show he was living in Connecticut when he joined the army on May 11, 1942. He indicated he had finished grammar school and was working as a pressman. He was also married.
Benway was a private serving in the 12th Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division. The 12th Regiment spearheaded the amphibious landing on Utah Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He died six days later on June 12, 1944. He was one of 4,488 4th Division soldiers who died in World War 2.
His remains were returned to be buried at Long Island National Cemetery.
Jane Wyman would have an encounter with a different Oscar after the war. In 1946 she was nominated for an Academy Award for The Yearling. She won the Oscar two years later for Johnny Belinda. She died at age 90 after a long and successful life that Oscar Benway never got to experience.
Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Join public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100