Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Emory

Last Name: Bennett

Birthplace: New Smyrna (Beach), FL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Lawrence

Date of Birth: 20 December 1929

Date of Death: 24 June 1951

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served: 1950-1951
Emory Lawrence Bennett

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Emory Lawrence Bennett
Private First Class, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient
Korean War

The Early Days

Emory Lawrence Bennett was born in New Smyrna (Beach), FL, on 20 December 1929. He had three older brothers: Gary, Marvin and John. The Bennetts lost their New Smyrna business in the Great Depression of the thirties. When Emory was in the first grade, in 1936, his family moved to Indianola on Merritt Island; they moved to Cocoa Village in 1937. Emory's father worked with the Florida road department while SR3 was under construction.

His parents ran a seafood business, Bennett Fish Market, located in the building at the corner of SR520 and Delannoy Avenue in Cocoa Village, for 14 years. The Bennett family lived above the seafood business with the Indian River at the back of the building.

Emory grew up working in the business with his family and he played and worked on the Indian River. He also helped catch fish in the river to sell. The family supplemented their diet by duck hunting, and Emory proved a crack shot.

After graduating from Cocoa High School in 1948, Emory worked several jobs to earn money for college. Enrolling in a business college in north Florida, he continued to work to support his desire for higher education.

Serving His Country

But Emory's world changed dramatically on 25 June 1950 when hostilities began in Korea. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and left for basic training on 25 July 1950; the day the first rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral.

Pursuing schooling with the army engineers, he was transferred to the infantry as the conflict in Korea expanded and more soldiers were needed immediately. Leaving the U.S. in February 1951, he went to serve in Korea.

After joining Company B of the 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, on 25 March, Emory first took part in combat on 31 March. He was promoted to a Private First Class one day later. Just over a month later, he was awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge. One month and four days later, he was holding off an enemy attack to allow his comrades to escape.

It was the stuff movies are made of; the important battle scene. But this wasn't the movies and the hero didn't come back from this battle; this hero was killed in action. Because of Emory's selfless act of valor near Sobangsan, Korea, on 24 June 1951, he didn't win an Oscar, he won the Medal of Honor; posthumously. Emory was also awarded the Purple Heart. This hero's self-sacrifice is best described by the citation that accompanied the orders awarding him his nation's highest award for valor: the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company B, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division

Place and date: Near Sobangsan, Korea, 24 June 1951

G.O. No.: 11, 1 February 1952


PFC Bennett a member of Company B, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an armed enemy of the United Nations. At approximately 0200 hours, 2 enemy battalions swarmed up the ridge line in a ferocious banzai charge in an attempt to dislodge PFC Bennett's company from its defensive positions. Meeting the challenge, the gallant defenders delivered destructive retaliation, but the enemy pressed the assault with fanatical determination and the integrity of the perimeter was imperiled. Fully aware of the odds against him, PFC Bennett unhesitatingly left his foxhole, moved through withering fire, stood within full view of the enemy, and, employing his automatic rifle, poured crippling fire into the ranks of the onrushing assailants, inflicting numerous casualties. Although wounded, PFC Bennett gallantly maintained his l-man defense and the attack was momentarily halted. During this lull in battle, the company regrouped for counterattack, but the numerically superior foe soon infiltrated into the position. Upon orders to move back, PFC Bennett voluntarily remained to provide covering fire for the withdrawing elements, and, defying the enemy, continued to sweep the charging foe with devastating fire until mortally wounded. His willing self-sacrifice and intrepid actions saved the position from being overrun and enabled the company to effect an orderly withdrawal. PFC Bennett's unflinching courage and consummate devotion to duty reflect lasting glory on himself and the military service.

Emory's Legacy

The Pfc. Emory L. Bennett Veterans Memorial Park in Orange City, FL, was dedicated after years of planning and work by many people.

Volusia and Brevard Counties share the distinction and honor of 'sharing' Medal of Honor recipient Emory L. Bennett. Bennett, who was born in Volusia County, has never been forgotten there. The county has a number of tributes to this remarkable man throughout the county, the park being the most recent.

The opening ceremony included many dignitaries from Volusia County as well Emory Bennett's only surviving brother, John Bennett of Cocoa. He assisted in the ribbon cutting. The park serves as a memorial to all military veterans. Commanders from three veterans councils participated in the opening, unveiling a commemorative stone marker dedicated to veterans who have died in service to America.

The 210-acre park is a $1.7-million facility. At present the first phase has 27-acres of cleared recreational area. It includes three ballfields, a playground, hillside walking paths and family picnic areas. The main feature is a large multi-purpose ballfield which can be used for a variety of sports.

The regional park, which is open to the public, is located on Veterans Memorial Highway between Harley Strickland and Rhode Island avenues in Orange City.

Final Remarks

Private First Class Emory Lawrence Bennett, the smiling boy in the photos, had been a boy who loved to fish and hunt. He had been a boy with a great sense of humor and a zest for life. In a letter mailed to one of his brothers from Korea, the smiling soldier in the photos expressed the simple wish to be able to come home to Cocoa after the conflict was over; to live and work in the place he loved.

Emory Bennett did come home to Cocoa, but the fun-loving boy that became a man, and then a hero in a hostile, far-away place, came home to be buried: His body arrived home on 23 November 1951. But Emory Lawrence Bennett will never be forgotten; not by his family or friends, or by the people of a grateful nation. That is because when the smiling young man was called upon to serve his country, he did more than just his duty; he gave everything he had.

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:13

Honoree ID: 1131   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image