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First Name: Thomas

Last Name: Bennett

Birthplace: Morgantown, WV, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: William

Date of Birth: 07 April 1947

Date of Death: 11 February 1969

Rank: Corporal

Years Served: 1968-1969
Thomas William Bennett

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Thomas William Bennett
Corporal, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Thomas William Bennett (7 April 1947 - 11 February 1969) was a U.S. Army Corporal, and medic, who was 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 was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Bennett was born on 7 April 1947, in Morgantown, WV. Bennett was sociable and deeply religious. While a freshman at West Virginia University, he formed the Campus Ecumenical Council.

When he was placed on academic probation after the Fall semester in 1967, 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.

Corporal Thomas W. Bennett arrived in South Vietnam on 1 January 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 9 February 1969, the unit came under intense fire, and Bennett risked gunfire to pull at least five wounded men to safety. That evening, his platoon sergeant recommended him for the Silver Star.

During the coming days, Bennett repeatedly put himself in harm's way to tend to the wounded. On 11 February, while attempting to reach a soldier wounded by sniper fire, Cpl. Bennett was gunned down. For his heroic actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Corporal, United States Army, 2d Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division

Place and date: Chu Pa Region, Pleiku Province, Republic of Vietnam, 9-11 February 1969.

Entered service at: Fairmont, WV.

Born: 7 April 1947, Morgantown, WV.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Cpl. Bennett distinguished himself while serving as a platoon medical aidman with the 2d Platoon, Company B, during a reconnaissance-in-force mission. On 9 February the platoon was moving to assist the 1st Platoon of Company D which had run into a North Vietnamese ambush when it became heavily engaged by the intense small arms, automatic weapons, mortar and rocket fire from a well fortified and numerically superior enemy unit. In the initial barrage of fire, 3 of the point members of the platoon fell wounded. Cpl. Bennett, with complete disregard for his safety, ran through the heavy fire to his fallen comrades, administered life-saving first aid under fire and then made repeated trips carrying the wounded men to positions of relative safety from which they would be medically evacuated from the battle position. Cpl. Bennett repeatedly braved the intense enemy fire moving across open areas to give aid and comfort to his wounded comrades. He valiantly exposed himself to the heavy fire in order to retrieve the bodies of several fallen personnel. Throughout the night and following day, Cpl. Bennett moved from position to position treating and comforting the several personnel who had suffered shrapnel and gunshot wounds. On 11 February, Company B again moved in an assault on the well fortified enemy positions and became heavily engaged with the numerically superior enemy force. Five members of the company fell wounded in the initial assault. Cpl. Bennett ran to their aid without regard to the heavy fire. He treated 1 wounded comrade and began running toward another seriously wounded man. Although the wounded man was located forward of the company position covered by heavy enemy grazing fire and Cpl. Bennett was warned that it was impossible to reach the position, he leaped forward with complete disregard for his safety to save his comrade's life. In attempting to save his fellow soldier, he was mortally wounded. Cpl. Bennett's undaunted concern for his comrades at the cost of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

On 7 April 1970, his posthumous Medal of Honor was presented to his mother and stepfather by President Richard Nixon.

Medals and Awards

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Bennett was awarded the Purple Heart.


A dormitory tower at West Virginia University's Evansdale Residential Complex is named in Bennett's honor.

A medical clinic at Fort Hood, TX, is named in Bennett's honor.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Corporal Thomas William Bennett's name is inscribed on Panel 32W - Line 10.

Death and Burial

Corporal Thomas William Bennett was killed in action on 11 February 1969. He is buried at East Oak Grove Cemetery in Morgantown, Monongalia County, WV.

Honoree ID: 897   Created by: MHOH




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