|Thomas William Bennett|
Corporal Thomas Bennett
|Born||April 7, 1947|
|Died||February 11, 1969(aged 21)|
|Place of birth||Morgantown, West Virginia|
|Place of death||Chu Pa Region, Pleiku Province, Republic of Vietnam|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1968–1969|
|Unit||14th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division|
Medal of Honor|
Thomas William Bennett (April 7, 1947 – February 11, 1969) was a U.S. Army medic and the second conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor (Desmond Doss, a medic in World War II, was the first). Bennett was killed in action during the Vietnam War and posthumously received the Medal of Honor.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Born in Morgantown, West Virginia, Thomas W. Bennett was sociable and deeply religious. While a student at West Virginia University, he formed the Campus Ecumenical Council during his freshman year.
When he was placed on academic probation after the Fall 1967 semester, he considered his options should he lose his academic deferment. Deeply patriotic, but opposed to killing on religious grounds, he opted to enlist as a conscientious objector who was willing to serve. This classification is different from a conscientious objector who will not assist the military in any way. He was trained as a field medic.
Cpl. Thomas W. Bennett arrived in South Vietnam on January 1, 1969, and was assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The unit began a series of strenuous patrols in the dense, mountainous terrain. On February 9, 1969, the unit came under intense fire, and Cpl. Bennett risked gunfire to pull at least five wounded men to safety. That evening, his platoon sergeant recommended him for the Silver Star.
Over the coming days, Cpl. Bennett repeatedly put himself in harm's way to tend to the wounded. On February 11, while attempting to reach a soldier wounded by sniper fire, Cpl. Bennett was gunned down. On April 7, 1970, his posthumous Medal of Honor was presented to his mother and stepfather by President Richard Nixon.
A dormitory tower at West Virginia University's Evansdale Residential Complex is named in his honor.
A medical clinic at Fort Hood is named in his honor.
See also[edit | edit source]
It should be noted that the Youth Center at Schofield Barracks, 25th ID, was also named in Tom's honor. (Robert B. Miller, Tom Bennett's uncle)
References[edit | edit source]
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
- ^ "Medal of Honor recipients". Medal of Honor citations. United States Army Center of Military History. August 3, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/Vietnam-a-l.html. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
[edit | edit source]
- Murphy, Edward F. "A Conscientious Objector's Medal of Honor", Vietnam magazine, June 2003.
- ""Medal of Honor recipient Corporal Thomas W. Bennett", Bennett Health Clinic dedication ceremony September 25, 1997". http://www.hood-meddac.army.mil/default.asp?page=bennett_history.
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