Thomas Waring Bennett, Jr

United States Air Force
22 December 1942 - 09 October 1980
Natchez, Mississippi
Panel 01W Line 103

USAF Pilot

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Thomas Waring Bennett, Jr

05 Jan 2007

I have worn the bracelet of Thomas Waring "Buddy" Bennett Jr. now for well over a year. I don't think I need to explain to anyone who may be reading this just what the bracelet or the man's name that is on the bracelet means to me. If you are here reading memorials that means in some way a soldier has touched your life. While I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Bennett or anyone in his family the sacrifice he made for me and so many others goes beyond my imagination. "There is no greater love then to lay down one's life for a friend." Buddy, I thank you for the sacrifice you made, I thank all of the other men and women that have paid the high price, and continue to pay the high price for freedom. I know my thank you isn't much. But to you, Buddy, I say thanks, and may God bring you home one day.

Tracy Schultz

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 22 Dec 1972, during the "Christmas bombing" of North Vietnam, B-52D tail number 55-0061 was being flown by a crew from the 22nd Bomb Wing, attached to the 307th Strat Wing at U-Tapao RTAFB, Thailand, and was targeted against the Bac Mai military storage area near Hanoi. Just short of the target, 55-0061 was attacked by a MiG and was separated from the other aircraft in its cell. While the MiG's missiles failed to hit the B-52, a surface-to-air SA-2 missile did hit in the central fuselage area. With both wings on fire and the pilot semiconscious, the copilot directed the crew to bail out. Six crewmen were aboard:
  • Capt Peter J. Giroux, Trumansburg, NY
  • Capt Thomas W. Bennett, Natchez, MS
  • Major Gerald W. Alley, Pocatello, ID
  • 1stLt Joseph B. Copack, Chicago, IL
  • Capt Peter P. Camerota, Gibbstown, NJ,
  • MSgt Louis E. LeBlanc, Providence, RI
Captain Giroux amd MSgt LeBlanc were captured at once, while Captain Camerota successfully evaded for 12 days before surrendering to the North Vietnamese. These three came home three months later, but the returning POWs knew nothing of the other three. The remains of 1stLt Copack and Major Alley were repatriated on 15 Dec 1988, with positive identification announced on 27 June 1989. Captain Bennett was carried as Missing in Action until a Presumptive Finding of Death was approved on 09 Oct 1980; his remains have not been repatriated.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who wears his MIA bracelet,
Tracy Schultz

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 05 Jan 2007
Last updated 06/08/2012