Thomas William Bennett

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Thomas William Bennett

Birthplace: Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia, United States
Death: February 11, 1969 (21)
Chu Pa Region, Pleiku, Gia Lai Province, Vietnam (Viet Nam) (Killed in action)
Place of Burial: Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Thurman Lee Bennett and Gale M Gray
Brother of Private and Private

Occupation: Medical Corpsman (ARMY)
Managed by: Lloyd Alfred Doss, Jr.
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Thomas William Bennett



Born in Morgantown, West Virginia, Thomas W. Bennett was sociable and deeply religious. He was raised Southern Baptist, but while a student at West Virginia University, he formed the Campus Ecumenical Council during his freshman year.

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

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

Over the coming days, Cpl. Bennett repeatedly put himself in harm's way to tend to the wounded. On February 11, while attempting to reach a soldier wounded by sniper fire, Cpl. Bennett was gunned down. On April 7, 1970, his posthumous Medal of Honor was presented to his mother and stepfather by President Richard Nixon.

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

A medical clinic at Fort Hood is named in his honor.

He is the subject of Peaceful Patriot: the Story of Tom Bennett by Bonni McKeown.

Medal of Honor

Presentation:  To His Family at the White House 

By President Richard M. Nixon - Apr 07, 1970
Buried at: East Oak Grove Cemetery - Morgantown, West Virginia

BENNETT, THOMAS W. * ( Conscientious Objector )

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, 2d Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry

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

Entered service at: Fairmont, West Virginia

Born: 7 April 1947, Morgantown, West Virginia


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. He valiantly exposed himself to the heavy fire in order to retrieve the bodies of several 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. 5 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.

  • Residence: Morgantown, West Virginia, USA
  • Race: Caucasian
  • Religion: Protestant- No Denominational Preference
  • Military service: DA [Department of the Army] - Selective Service - Military Region 2 - Pleiku
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Thomas William Bennett's Timeline

April 7, 1947
Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia, United States
February 11, 1969
Age 21
Chu Pa Region, Pleiku, Gia Lai Province, Vietnam (Viet Nam)
East Oak Grove Cemetery, Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia, United States