In Memory of
Army Air Corps Technician Third Grade
John Bennett
Rapid City, SD
Pennington County
March 23, 1909-May 20, 1942
Died as a POW at Camp O’Donnell, Philippines

John Bennett

John H. Bennett was the son of Harry and Alma Bennett. He had two brothers, Emmett and Lyle, and one sister, Irma.  John was born in Pierre, South Dakota on March 23, 1909.  John was a very quiet, shy person, who showed interest in basketball, chemistry club, and manual training.  He graduated from Rapid City High School in 1927.   In the evening, he drove taxi for the Taylor Cab Company. Young ladies who needed a ride in the evening always asked for John, as they felt safe with him.

John Bennett entered the Army Air Forces in Vancouver, Washington on October 20, 1939, and received his preliminary training at Chanute Field in Rantoul, Illinois.  Sergeant Bennett additionally trained as a field mechanic and was stationed at Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sergeant John Bennett left the United States in October 1941, and went to the Philippines where he was stationed at Clark Field.

In a telegram sent to Sergeant Bennett’s mother, he was listed as missing in action on May 7, 1942.  It was later learned that he had been taken as a prisoner of war at the surrender of Corregidor.  He was part of the Bataan Death March and died after reaching camp of dysentery.  His date of death was May 20, 1942, at Camp O’Donnell, Luzon, Philippines.  A letter from Army headquarters stated: “ It is my fervent hope that…the knowledge that his courage and sacrifices contributed to the final victory may be of sustaining comfort…”

Sergeant John H. Bennett was buried at Luzon, Philippines.  In 1949, his remains were reburied at Ft. McKinley, US Military Cemetery in Manila, Philippines.   He was awarded the Purple Heart and Presidential Citation Award.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Shawna Jobgen, Josh Morgan, and Greg Naescher, 12th Grade, Wall High School, Wall, South Dakota, April 2, 2002.  Information for this entry was provided by Mrs. Mary Ellen Bennett, Rapid City, South Dakota, sister-in-law of Sgt. John Bennett.