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McLean Loses Maj. Gen. Cal Benedict, Former Berlin Commander

A life of honor dedicated to the military

Maj. Gen. Calvert P. Benedict (ret.), a McLean resident for 28 years, died on Feb. 21. He was 86 and lived a life dedicated to the military and to his family.

Benedict, a West Point graduate ’46, who retired as a major general in 1981, had served 35 years in the Army. His assignments took him to many parts of the world, including his final command as the commandant of West Berlin in the American sector. Cause was death was not disclosed.

His son, Lance, 44, an engineer from McLean, lived with his parents in Berlin, and remembers the time fondly as Benedict commanded the sector alongside French and British military officials in charge of those sections.

“My dad was all about leadership and getting things done.” Lance Benedict said. “He got things done fast. He was all about people who worked for him. People loved working for him, not only in the military.”

In addition to Berlin, Benedict also served in Vietnam as a battalion commander in First Infantry Division from June1967 to June 1968. He also commanded the First Infantry Division at Fort Riley, KS, July 1976 to June 1978. He was an instructor in the Department of Military History of West Point from 1964-67 and the Deputy commandant for the U.S. Army War College in 1973-74.

He earned numerous decorations for his service, including the Silver Star three times and the Distinguished Service Medal. He was also awarded the Distinguished Cross  for "extraordinary heroism" in Vietnam, that is only given for valor.   He received the Distinguished Service Medal at the end of his career for "eminently meritorious service in consecutive positions of great responsibility from August 1973 to July 1981."

“Dad loved life. And he loved his family,” said Benedict’s daughter, Gene Asmuth of Chevy Chase, Md.

“He was of the generation that knew right from wrong,” she said. “He lived with great honor and honesty. There was no fudging when it came to doing the right thing. That’s very characteristic of that generation.”

He was a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in McLean where he was an usher and stalwart with Sandwich Sunday which helps to feed the hungry and homeless in the District. He was a friend and mentor to many.

After retiring from the military, he became the executive director of Knollwood Nursing Home in Washington, D.C., where he oversaw the first expansion of the facility and an assisted living wing. He and his wife, Gene, moved to the facility in February.

In addition to his wife, Gene,  (they’ve been married for 63 years), his children, Gene and Lance, Benedict is survived by three other sons, Calvert, Charles and Craig, 18 grandchildren and two great-grandsons.

A memorial service to celebrate Benedict’s life was held on March 12. His ashes will be buried at West Point where he was born and where his father graduated, class of ’15.

Ellen Burns August 11, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I was sorry to hear of his passing. He was a fine man. Lance is right. He came from a generation that knew right and wrong. Lance and my son were friends and it was a great family.

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