WO1 Donald E Bennett, LTC was a VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 05/22/2019 at the age of 74.1
Lowell, OR
Flight Classes 66-7 and 66-9W
Date of Birth 05/03/1945
Served in the U.S. Army
Served in Vietnam with 334 AHC in 66-67, 197 AHC in 66-67
Call sign in Vietnam GANGBUSTER 49
This information was provided by Sammie Williams - obit

More detail on this person: Donald Edward Bennett, 74, passed away unexpectedly in his home on May 22, 2019. Donald was born May 3, 1945 to parents Carl and Jennie Giles Bennett in Pasco, Washington. He joined sister Pearl and brother Phil. Donald's father was a pastor which meant the family moved a bit. He started school in Clatskanie, later moved to Kennewick and finally graduated from Marysville, WA (1963). Just days after graduating, Don joined the army. He did a tour in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot. On one of his missions, he and his co-pilot were lowering and lifting Green Berets out of the jungle. An Airforce plane crashed into them causing a midair collision in January of 1967, sending Don 50 feet to the jungle floor. He spent the next three months in a hospital in Japan recovering from his injuries. During his second tour in Vietnam in 1969, Don flew fixed wing aircraft. Don received some special metals while enlisted: Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross w/ 4 O/S Bars, Air Medal w/Numeral 19, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal! Vietnam Service Medal w/One Bronze Service Star & One Silver Service Star, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal Ribbon w/Device, Army Aviator Badge, Sharpshooter Badge w/Rifle Bar. Don married Marlys Beach in December 1965 while he was attending flight school, which he finished in August of 1966. While they had only started dating earlier that year, the couple had known each other from his days in Kennewick when they were young teens. In 1968, while stationed in Texas, their first son was born, Chris. Later they were joined by their youngest boy Matt in 1971 in Alabama. In 1972 Donald left the Army and joined the National Guard. He had a 2 year span between Army life and working for the FAA. He put this time to good use, going to William Carey College earing his bachelor's degree. Don loved to go on long distance motorcycle rides and spending time with his family and grandchildren. He also enjoyed traveling to many new places with Marlys One of his greatest passions was volunteering at the Service Dog Project. In 1975 Don went to work for the FAA, this meant traveling a bit. The family jumped around the south mostly, while being sent to Seattle, WA and then Helena, Montana for about three years. In 1994 it was time to retire from the FAA, but he continued until 1997 to be enlisted in the National Guard, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. Don is survived by his wife Marlys; sons, Chris (Lorie) Bennett, Matt (Abigail Arons) Bennett; three grandchildren, and brother Phil Bennett. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to the Service Dog Project 37 Boxford Rd. IPS Witch, MA 01938. A graveside service will be July 8, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland. A celebration of life will be July 10, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at Major Family Funeral Home

Burial information: Willamette National Cemetery, Portland, OR

This information was last updated 07/07/2019

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Date posted on this site: 06/15/2024

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