General Donald V. Bennett, USA
(ret). is “a graduate and former commandant of West Point, won the Distinguished Service Cross and two Purple Hearts
for his service in World War II.” During the Second World War, “As a Lieutenant Colonel,
Bennett, along with the 62nd Armored Field Artillery Battalion on the June 6, 1944 landed with the second wave at 0720 on
D-Day. His party was subjected to a tremendous volume of machine gun fire which inflicted 50 percent casualties before they
reached the comparative safety of the shingle at the base of the cliff adjoining the beach. Observing that following units
were pinned down on the beach, he immediately left his cover and moved about the beach under heavy fire in order to assemble
and reorganize the infantry assault companies, four tanks, and an antiaircraft unit.
By redistributing the remaining officers and equipment;
by emplacing the .50 calibre machine guns of the antiaircraft unit so as to give close support to the infantry; and by radioing
for tank and artillery fire support from the LCTs, he organized a sizeable force and at about 10:00 hours, which successfully
assaulted the ridge. He then continued moving about the beach under intense fire and succeeded in locating a protected place
to bring his battalion and move it across the beach. Lieutenant Colonel Bennett, in disregarding his own safety under such
heavy enemy fire throughout the day and in his clear thinking, contributed immeasurably to the establishment of the beachhead.”
General Donald V. Bennett is the author of Honor Untarnished: A West Point Graduate’s
Memoir of World War II.
According to the book description of
Honor Untarnished: A West Point Graduate’s Memoir of World War II, “What the bestsellers
Flags of Our Fathers was to Iwo Jima and Duty to the mission of the Enola Gay, Honor Untarnished is to the World War II tour
of duty of young graduate of a West Point.
it was fighting Rommel's fierce Afrika Korps hitting the beaches of Normandy on D Day, surviving the Battle of the Bulge,
or just being in the next room during the infamous "slapping incident" of Blood-n-Guts General George Patton, Donald
Bennett experienced the fiery crucible of World War II and survived to tell about it.
As a recent graduate of West Point, First Lieutenant Bennett was given the charge of training
inexperienced and scared recruits, and leading them into battle against the Axis forces. From orientation at Fort Sill, Oklahoma
through the fiercest battles of the war right up to the liberation of the death camps and our complicit confrontation with
the Soviet Union over Eastern Europe, Don Bennett, not yet thirty, preserved the honor of the corps, and the liberty of the
Lindbergh, Patton, Bradley, and Eisenhower
are just names in a history book to most-but to Don Bennett they were personal acquaintances.”