Thomas William Bennett

Army of the United States
07 April 1947 - 11 February 1969
Morgantown, West Virginia
Panel 32W Line 010

Medal of Honor

Combat Medic

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Thomas William Bennett

27 Nov 2007

Tom Bennett was always a positive presence wherever, whenever and with whomever he was. His mischievous personality combined with enormous charm endeared him to the widest diversity of people. All kidding aside, Tom lived his 21 years on this earth with integrity, compassion and real love for his fellow man. He wanted to heal differences, bring people together, solve problems and above all, make this world a more peaceful place. He wrote home from the military once about his ethical concern of being in the chapel and thinking, "Can a man kneel before the flag of our country and the cross and keep his integrity?" He truly loved our country, wanted to serve, but could not take a life ... especially in a war with which he strongly disaggreed. Enlisting as a medic and as a conscientious objector was an ethically correct and responsible decision for Tom.

Had he lived longer than his one month in Vietnam (I imagine), Tom would have come back to college, graduated from medical school, raised a family, practiced family medicine in West Virginia and would have continued to work for positive social change his entire life. This former student body president and Governor of Boys' State would have continued to be the natural leader whenever he was called upon to do so. His untimely death left a legacy to everyone who knew him to step up and courageously carry on his unfinished work for peace. Tom lives on in the hearts and minds of everyone who ever had the privilege to call him a friend.

From a friend,
Mary Ellen Rapsawich Coleman

A Note from The Virtual Wall

During the second week of February 1969 the 1st Bn, 14th Infantry was conducting operations in the Chu Pa Mountain area, about 30 kilometers southwest of Kontum. Nine US soldiers were killed in action during that period:
  • A Company:
    • SGT James L. Ward, Cantonment, FL (02/07/1969)
    • CPL Donald M. Ashton, Easthampton, MA (02/11/1969)

  • B Company:
    • 1LT Michael J. Wilson, South Charleston, WV (02/09/1969)
    • SGT Clarence C. Adams, Milwaukee, WI (02/11/1969)
    • SGT Gregory M. Leinen, Long Beach, CA (02/09/1969)
    • CPL Leonard A. Morse, London Mills, IL (02/09/1969)

  • D Company:
    • SGT Johnnie W. Ator, Pittsfield, IL (02/09/1969) (Bronze Star "V")
    • CPL Bobby G. Gamble, Richard City, TN (02/09/1969)

  • HQ Company:
    • CPL Thomas W. Bennett, Morgantown, WV (medic w/ B/1/14) (02/11/1969) (Medal of Honor)
The President of the United States
in the name of the Congress of the United States takes pride in presenting the


posthumously to

Army of the United States

for service as set forth in the following


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.

Visit John Dennison's
Medics on the Wall
memorial which honors the
Army Medics and Navy Corpsmen who died in Vietnam.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend,
Mary Ellen Rapsawich Coleman

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 27 Nov 2007
Last updated 11/29/2007