STORIES
Lifesavers

Steven L. Bennett

by Heather from Riley

Every person has their own meaning for the word hero. For some it may be a sports star, someone who has inspired them, someone they know, someone they don't know, someone who saved or helped someone, it all depends on the person. My definition of a hero is someone like Steven L. Bennett. Captain Bennett gave his life trying to make sure no one else would die. Steven joined the Air Force in 1968; he finished his training in 1970 at Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, California. A Hero is someone who would do anything in their power to save or helped someone else even if that means they cannot help or save themselves

OV-10 aircraft (http://maneyaircraft.com/?page_id=243 ())
OV-10 aircraft (http://maneyaircraft.com/?page_id=243 ())

In 1972 he was stationed in Vietnam for the Vietnam War. He was one of the 3.1 million who died in that war. His observer on the other hand, was not one of those millions, thanks to Bennett. While in the air in an OV-10 (a type of plane) Bennett noticed that the enemy was advancing on a small friendly troop nearby, when he requested air support the main base told him that there was no support was available. When he asked for artillery support but it was denied it because of how close the enemy was to the friendly troops.

Bennett decided that he would try to take them himself. He made four passes to try to stop the advancing enemies before he was hit with a SAM missile. The missile totaled the left engine when it hit. He was left with only one engine that was getting very close t being totaled too, only one parachute as the other one was shredded with the impact of the missile, and a plane that no one had ever successfully ditched before. Ditching a plane is when you try to land it in the water safely. Bennett decided that it would be best to try to ditch it because while he knew he would most likely not make it out alive, Brown (his observer) had more of a chance, he did so in the Gulf of Tonkin. When he ditched the plane the front end ended up crushed and he could not get out. Brown on the other hand got out just fine. It took about a day to find Bennett and Brown. Bennett died on impact.

Captain Steven L. Bennett Ammunition Ship (http://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/bennet.htm ())
Captain Steven L. Bennett Ammunition Ship (http://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/bennet.htm ())

Bennett may have died, but he was not forgotten. Bennett left behind a wife. In 1974 the air force gave his wife the medal he had earned in his first three months while over seas, The Air Medal. After his death the ship Sea Pride was renamed Steven Logan Bennett, as he was the last person to earn the Medal of Honor at the time. The ship is an ammunition preposition fleet ship, this means that it sits in the water by where every we are at and is called on for help when it is needed.

I believe that Bennett is a hero in the eyes of many people in this world. Mark Brown's family included. He lost his life doing something he knew would save others. That is a hero in my eyes. While some may say he is just a statistic in the Vietnam War I disagree. I don't believe any of the soldiers that have fought for us are just a statistic. Captain Bennett did something he knew there was little chance of him surviving so other people could live. Some may say that it is just recklessness but I believe it is heroism.

Page created on 9/25/2014 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 9/25/2014 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Congressional Medal of Honor Society - List of the Medal of Honor recipiants
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund - All the Soldiers that fell during the War

Extra Info



I am Steven Bennett.
I am a captain in the US Air Force.
I joined the Air Force in 1968
I was in the Vietnam War in 1972.
I died in Vietnam.
I was trying to help a nearby team.
The enemies hit my plane.
I saved my observer when we were hit.
I had an ammunition shipped named after me.
I am Steven Bennett.