The story goes that C. Franklyn Benninghoff Jr. sought the hand of Ella Corella Hinshaw in 1934 but met stiff resistance from another equally devoted pursuer, one Shorty McGrew. So, in front of his residence at 1921 Carteret Street in Pueblo, Colorado Frank and Shorty agreed that the contest was to be reduced to a coin flip. Frank called heads and Shorty called tails. The coin came up...
And so Frank and Ella joined in holy matrimony... which is the beginning of this history, a history based on continuing luck and good fortune.
Frank, a recent chemical engineering graduate from the University of Colorado at Boulder became employed in the Pueblo Iron & Steel plant. He and Ella started their family in Pueblo and there began with their first two children - Kathryn and Barbara.
War years came and Frank was sought out by Henry J. Kaiser to come to the West Coast, namely Fontana, California, to make steel for the war effort. Mr. Kaiser also started up the Kaiser Shipbuilding docks in Oakland at that time. Between the steel mill where Frank worked in Fontana and the docks in Oakland, Kaiser assembled a mighty ship-building enterprise that literally helped win World War II building at its peak one Victory Ship every week or so.
It was during this time that Charles F. Benninghoff III was born, in 1944, in San Bernardino, California. Later two more sisters, Virginia and Diana, also joined the family. From Fontana, the family moved in 1949 to Upland, California and continuously resided there until 1977. During that time, Charles attended Upland Elementary, Upland Junior High and Upland High School where he emphasized journalism and track.
During Charles' years at Upland High School, he found he could run pretty fast for a white boy and ended up setting school records in the hurdles and winning both high and low hurdle races in the 1961 meet for the Tri-County League.
To the right is a 1962 article written by Jim Bryant, Sport Editor of the Ontario-Upland Daily Report, a newspaper which employed Charles as a sports writer while he was in high school and which lauded Charles' accomplishments including being a track champion, newspaper reporter, public speaker and Randolph Hearst Scholastic Medallion winner for Excellence in Journalism. Click on the image for a full-sized, readable image.
He graduated from Upland High in 1962 and then attended Chaffey Junior College in Alta Loma, California. In early 1965, while ski instructing at Mammoth, California, Charles learned that we was drafted in an early phase of the Vietnam buildup; however he fatefully decided not to go Army and, instead, enlisted for three years in the Navy.
Reporting to the San Diego Naval Training Center, Charles soon learned that his first duty would be aboard the USS Regulus AF57, a refrigeration ship then located in dry dock at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco. Upon relating this to his father, Frank became concerned because he recognized that the ship was one of the Victory Ship Hulls that he had helped build in 1944. Seems that this model ship developed the nasty habit of breaking apart in rough seas. Hah! This could be a dangerous assignment for my only son, Frank told his wife, Ella. But, as it turned out when the US Navy took possession of the ship in 1951 it underwent a strengthening by placement of a tempered steel strengthening girdle. She was seaworthy.
A sort of danger far more worrisome to Frank, it turned out, did occur during rough seas aboard the Regulus for on a WestPac Cruise in 1966, orders sent by radio came to Charles, directing him to report for combat training in Oakland, California. He was transferred underway by boatswain's chair from the USS Regulus to the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise CVN65 for a flight to Japan, then Alaska and he landed at the Naval Air Station located in Oakland.
The combat training was conducted in Oakland, San Diego and Suison, California, Whidbey Island, Washington and the Philippines. His initial Vietnam assignment was as a small boat crew member (eventually captain) for River Patrol Section 543 which ran Patrol Boat River (PBRs) initially out of Nha Be, Republic of South Vietnam and finally in Cua Viet, a Marine Corps fire base a few miles below the Demilitarized Zone. In Nha Be, which was located just south of Saigon, Charles was promoted from combat river patrols to be a watch officer (enlisted) in the Tactical Operation Center (TOC) where he provided radio coordination between United States and RVN air, army and naval forces, often shouting orders through three radios at a time to different forces. He said, "My job in the TOC was to do my damnedest not to have fly boys or army artillery shooting up our River Patrol Boats. This challenge was the greatest of my life. My service in Vietnam allowed me to learn that the breadth of my communication skills did not end with the written word."
After honorable discharge in 1968, Charles returned to Chaffey Junior College by way of Mira Loma Junior College in Oceanside, California. From Chaffey he earned an Associates Arts degree.
He then attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles beginning in 1969 where he earned three degrees: a bachelor of science degree, a master in accounting degree and a law degree. He jammed all of this into five years, graduating in 1974. He then passed his Certified Public Accounting test and became a CPA and, as well, passed the California Bar Examination entitling him to practice law. His initial work was with Touche Ross Baily & Smart in Los Angeles where he was awarded his public accounting certification.
By 1978, Charles started his own law firm which he maintained until 1998 when he resigned from the practice of law and began working in computer- and internet-related endeavors. He had already retired in 1991 from the practice of accountancy, never having had enough time to do much in that area.
By 2001, Charles had created several new business endeavors that were internet based including the very company that ultimately became named Grassroots Campaign Creations, Ltd.
Grassroots has grown into a fundraising- and awareness-raising internet site that specializes in helping conservative candidates, charities, churches and causes.
Charles invented to automated facsimile delivery systems that are now utilized by various groups that wish to address social and political issues with elected officials and corporate representatives. His newly-revised faxing system named FAXNOW is operating under a patent-pending provisionary filing.
After working for numerous clients over the years, Charles felt that the spiritual aspect of public life was being overlooked by virtually everyone. Not included in this life is classically trained Bible school graduates, all of whom Charles discovered were steeped in federal government approaches of appeasement with wrongdoing and concentrating on do-nothing religion, a religion fearful of acting lest the 501C3 tax exempt status be taken away by a villainous IRS.
Therefore, Charles Benninghoff founded Pray for US – Pray for the United States, several years ago due to his desire to see faith and our country reunited.
He said, “Pray for US started on the college campuses I attended during the 70s and 80s although I didn’t know it at the time. Then, I, too, had put distance between my Christ and my life. I had just come back from serving in the Brown Water Navy in Viet Nam and was on a downer, so to speak. For my service I was disliked by the college students I had returned to live with. But, for my service I had grown to greatly respect the patriotism and spirit of my fellows with whom I had served.”
“For many years, decades in fact, I roamed around without faith and without a goal. Then my life was suddenly taken from me, my old life that is. I ran afoul of the law and I had to start over again. That was 1997. Then, about 2004 I decided to once again attend church and was born again. I joined the Crystal Cathedral in Southern California and taught classes, became an ordained elder even while watching our nation devolve into electing the most left-wing, globalist president in its history. I had witnessed in just a few years how our country had slid down a slope towards near-total socialism.
“What I had previously taken for granted, the traditional marriage, the strength of the family, the love of God, the love that Christ brings to us all, faithfulness, frugality and family were just all disappearing. Swept away in a sea of socialist demagoguery. Lost in a tidal wave of gift-giving – read that vote-buying – giveaway government programs.
“It was at that time that I decided faith had founded our country and it would be saved by faith alone and it was my job to work towards that goal. I don’t think I was ‘born again’, but I may have been. I don’t feel like it. I feel like the traditions I grew up with have not been defended by my generation. We gave in. I, too, gave in and went down the wrong path making more mistakes I can count. But now it is time to rise up and defend our traditional beliefs regardless of what is politically correct. That is how Pray for US began and by God’s will it will be carried on.”