Lieutenant Colonel William Pershing Benedict (1928 – August 31, 1974) was an American pilot from California. He is best known for having made the first aircraft landing at the North Pole.
Benedict tried to join U.S. Army Air Force for pilot training, but was rejected because of his modest education. Instead, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in July 1940. He received his wings as an RCAF fighter pilot on July 29, 1941.
Benedict was sent to Great Britain for advanced training, but was soon transferred to French Equatorial Africa. In March 1942 he was assigned to 127 Squadron RAF, based at Haifa, Palestine (now in Israel). He was shot down on July 16, 1942, while flying a Hurricane, but parachuted to safety. On December 15, 1942, Benedict was transfer to the USAAF, where he flew Curtiss P-40s and later P-47 Thunderbolts. He returned to the U.S. on leave in December, 1944, and married his Canadian fiancee. He then returned to Europe for the remainder of the war.