LtCol Benfield was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in May 1999 upon his graduation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After completing The Basic School, he reported for primary flight training at NAS Pensacola, FL. He was winged a Naval Aviator on 16 November 2001 and reported to Camp Pendleton, CA for instruction as an AH-1W pilot at HMT-303.
LtCol Benfield was assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 269 in August 2002 and served as the Ground Training Officer, Flight Equipment Officer, Airframes Officer, Assistant Aircraft Maintenance Officer, Assistant Future Operations Officer, and Quality Assurance Officer. In January 2003, he deployed with HMLA-269 in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM I. In March 2005, he deployed with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 162(REIN) to the CENTCOM AOR and served as the Quality Assurance Officer. In February 2006, he deployed with HMLA-269 for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM 05-07.1 and served as the Tactics Officer/Future Operations Officer.
LtCol Benfield joined the Joint Fires Integration and Interoperability Team in January 2007. He organized joint close air support and joint terminal attack controller training within numerous exercises to include NTC, JRTC, and Atlantic Strike. During these exercises he organized joint testing and development assessments on TACP suites, sensors, and laser designators/rangefinders for the joint community.
In May 2008, LtCol Benfield was reassigned to Marine Aviation Training Support Group 21 for duties as an Instructor Pilot for Helicopter Training Squadron 18. While assigned to HT-18, he served as the Student Control/Assignments Officer, Senior Marine, and Standardization Pilot for Contacts, Instruments, Formation, and Night Vision Goggle phases of instruction.
As an individual augment, from September 2010 to November 2011, LtCol Benfield worked as the Assistant Future Operations Officer, G-3, for 2d Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) and deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM 11. Upon return to HMLA-269, LtCol Benfield served as the Operations Officer and then the Aircraft Maintenance Officer from December 2011 to February 2013. He then served as the Marine Aircraft Group 29’s Director of Safety and Standardization from February to June 2013.
From July 2013 to June 2014, LtCol Benfield attended the USMC Command and Staff College in Quantico, VA where he earned a Masters in Military Studies.
Upon graduation, LtCol Benfield was assigned as the Detachment Commander, Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773 Detachment Bravo aboard Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ. During this tour, LtCol Benfield was responsible to the Reserve Squadron Commander for a Detachment of over 200 Marines and 18 H-1 aircraft.
In August 2017, LtCol Benfield reported to MCAS Cherry Point’s Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron for duties as the Executive Officer. On 25 May 2018, he assumed command of Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron.
LtCol Benfield’s personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (gold star, 2nd award), Strike/Flight Air Medal, Numeral 10, Individual Action Air Medal with Combat V, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (gold star, 4th award), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat V (gold star, 2nd award).