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Cpl. Thomas Bennett

Date of Award: April 7, 1970
Conflict: Vietnam War
Branch: U.S. Army

Cpl Thomas Bennett portraitJoining Pfc. Desmond Doss of World War II on the short list of conscientious objectors to the war, Cpl. Thomas Bennett of Morgantown, W.V., was deeply religious but also a devout patriot when it came to serving and protecting his country. As the U.S. continued to send troops over to Vietnam, Bennett, who was opposed to killing due to religious beliefs, opted to enlist as a conscientious objector who was willing to serve. He trained as a medic and, by January of 1969, arrived in South Vietnam as part of 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division.

His unit patrolled the rugged, mountainous terrain of the Chu Pa Region, Pleiku Province, Republic of Vietnam. In an intense gunfight in February of 1969, Bennett risked his own life to pull at least five wounded men to safety. That evening, his platoon sergeant recommended him for the Silver Star. Over the next few days, Bennett would repeatedly put himself in harm's way to tend to the wounded, but ultimately lost his life attempting to reach a soldier wounded by sniper fire. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Richard Nixon on April 7, 1970.

Citation: “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.”

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