Bennett, Joseph Houston, Maj

Deceased
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Major
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
M 1055-Pilot, Single-Engine Fighter
Last AFSC Group
USAAF
Primary Unit
1945-1946, 4th Fighter Group
Service Years
1941 - 1946
Major

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

101 kb

Home State
Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Year of Birth
1918
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Bennett, Joseph Houston ("Joe" ), Maj.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Marlow, OK
Last Address
Clinton, Texas

Date of Passing
Aug 15, 2000
 
Location of Interment
Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery - Dallas, Texas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 10 Site 299

 Official Badges 

Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961


 Unofficial Badges 






 Additional Information

Last Known Activity

 Joseph H. Bennett was born in Marlow, Oklahoma on November 25, 1918. After graduating from high school, he attended Abilene Christian College in Abilene, Texas and Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico.

He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet program on April 25, 1941, and graduated on December 13, 1941, one week after Pearl Harbor. Awarded a commission as 2nd Lieutenant, and with pilot wings, he was assigned to the 54th Fighter Group for combat training in the P-39. In March 1943, he was transferred to the 360th Fighter Squadron of the 356th Fighter Group and underwent combat training in the P-47 at Mitchell Field, New York and Grenier Field, Connecticut.

In August 1943, he deployed to Coxhill Field in England, and was promoted to Captain. On November 29, he scored a "probable kill" on an enemy fighter, and this was his last mission with the 356th Fighter Group. He was assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron of the 56th Fighter Group, where he transitioned into the P-51 aircraft. On December 23, he received his first confirmed aerial victory. In April 1944, his aircraft was involved in a mid-air collision over the Dutch coast, but Bennett was rescued from the English Channel.

The next month, he was awarded 4 more aerial victories, but almost met his end in a dogfight. While engaging a flight of German fighters, Bennett was jumped from the rear by a BF-109. As the German pilot pulled into firing position, his guns jammed. Intent on destroying the American aircraft, the pilot deliberately rammed the nose of his aircraft into the tail structure of the P-51. The tail assembly disintegrated, and Bennett managed to bail out of the spinning wreckage, while the German managed to make a succesful belly-landing. Bennett was captured and imprisoned in Stalag Luft VII near Moosburg, Germany. Here he was visited by the German flier who rammed him, Oberfahnrich Hubert Heckmann. After the war, they became friends and visited each other annually.

Liberated in April 1945, Bennett remained in Germany on Occupation duty until January 1846, when he returned to the U.S. and was honorably discharged. He moved to West Texas and became a farmer. Later, he worked with the Army Corps of Engineers until his retirement in 1980.

Major Joseph H. Bennett passed away on August 18, 2000. He is buried in the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery in Dallas, Texas.


www.ehangar.com/printgalery/print_detail.php?0id=1770
www.littlefriends.co.uk/gallery
www.veterantributes.org
www.americanfighteraces.org/wwiiusaf.html
USAAC/USAAF Aircraft Inventory records

  

Other Comments:

Major Joseph h. Bennett had an interesting relationship with aircraft. His first assigned aircraft with the 61st Fighter Squadron was P-47D #42-8396, nicknamed "Lucky." This aircraft was later assigned to another pilot and was severely damaged in a landing accident on February 2, 1945 while being flown by Flight Officer William H. Carrington.

Bennett's next aircraft was P-47D #751XX*, nicknamed "Ann II." He was then assigned to P-47D#42-75269, no name or artwork. After his transfer to the 336th Fighter Squadron, he was assigned P-51B#42-106686, nicknamed "Ann III." This was the aircraft lost in the mid-air incident off the Dutch coast. Later, he was given P-51B#43-6572, nicknamed "Paul," after his son. This aircraft was assigned to him the day before he flew the mission in which he was rammed and became a POW. Missing Air Crew Report # 5720 applies.

  *Note: USAAC/USAAF records indicate only the first three numbers in the serial number of "Ann II."

   
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Pilot Badge


 
 Unit Assignments
Aviation Cadet Flight School54th Fighter Squadron, Twin Engine360th Fighter Squadron356th Fighter Group
61st Fighter Squadron  - Zemke's Wolfpack336th Fighter Squadron  - RocketeersPOW Germany4th Fighter Group
  1941-1941, AAF MOS 188, Aviation Cadet Flight School
  1941-1943, M 1055, 54th Fighter Squadron, Twin Engine
  1943-1943, 360th Fighter Squadron
  1943-1943, 356th Fighter Group
  1943-1944, 61st Fighter Squadron - Zemke's Wolfpack
  1944-1944, 336th Fighter Squadron - Rocketeers
  1944-1945, POW Germany
  1945-1946, 4th Fighter Group
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1943-1943 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)
 Colleges Attended 
Abilene Christian UniversityEastern New Mexico University
  1936-1938, Abilene Christian University
  1939-1940, Eastern New Mexico University
 My Aircraft/Missiles
BT-13 Valiant  PT-19 Trainer  P-39 Airacobra  P-47 Thunderbolt (Jug)  
P-51/F-51 Mustang  
  1941-1941, BT-13 Valiant
  1941-1941, PT-19 Trainer
  1941-1943, P-39 Airacobra
  1943-1944, P-47 Thunderbolt (Jug)
  1944-1944, P-51/F-51 Mustang
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