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First Name: Donald

Last Name: Bennett

Birthplace: Lakeside, OH, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Vivian

Date of Birth: 09 May 1915

Date of Death: 28 November 2005

Rank: General

Years Served: 1940 - 1974
Donald Vivian Bennett

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1940

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Donald Vivian Bennett
General, U.S. Army

Donald Vivian Bennett was born on 9 May 1915 in Lakeside, OH. He attended Michigan State University and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1940.

Lieutenant Colonel Bennett, commanding the 62nd Armored Field Artillery Battalion, landed with the second wave on the beach at Normandy at 0720 on D-Day, 6 June 1944. His actions that day earned him the U.S. Army's second highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross.

Bennett served as Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy from 1966 to 1968. He was Commander of VII US Corps from June 1968 until September 1969. As a four-star General, his last command was as Commanding General of the U.S. Army Pacific Command.

General Bennett retired from the Army in 1974 and moved to Asheville, NC.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Cross
Army Distinguished Service Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Legion of Merit with 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Bronze Star Medal
Army Commendation Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Purple Heart with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
American Defense Medal
American Campaign Medal
European, African, Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
Korean Service Medal
United Nations Service Medal
Army Presidential Unit Citation

Distinguished Service Cross Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Lieutenant Colonel Donald Vivian Bennett (ASN: 0-23001), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 62d Field Artillery Battalion, in action against enemy forces on 6 June 1944, in France. When Lieutenant Colonel Bennett landed with the second wave at 0720 on D-Day, his party was subjected to a tremendous volume of machine gun fire which inflicted 50 per cent casualties before they reached the comparative safety of the shingle at the base of the cliff adjoining the beach. Observing that following units were pinned down on the beach, he immediately left his cover and moved about the beach under heavy fire in order to assemble and reorganize the infantry assault companies, four tanks and an anti-aircraft unit. By redistributing the remaining officers and equipment; by emplacing the .50 caliber machine guns of the anti-aircraft unit so as to give close support from the LCT's, he organized a sizeable force and at about 1000 hours successfully assaulted the ridge. He then continued moving about the beach under intense fire and succeeded in locating a protected place to bring in his battalion and move it across the beach. Lieutenant Colonel Bennett, in disregarding his own safety under such heavy enemy fire throughout the day and in his clear thinking, contributed immeasurably to the establishment of the beachhead. His inspiring leadership, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, First U.S. Army, General Orders No. 45 (August 9, 1944)


General Bennett recounted his World War II experience in his memoir, Honor Untarnished, published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC in 2003.

Death and Burial

General Donald Vivian Bennett died on 28 November 2005 at the age of 90. He is buried at the United States Military Academy Post Cemetery in West Point, NY.

Honoree ID: 188   Created by: MHOH




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