Corporal Edward A. Bennett, Jr., USA (February 1, 1945)

Edward Andrew Bennett, Jr. was born in Middleport, Ohio on February 11, 1920. He was working as a “skilled asbestos and insulation worker” when he was drafted into the United States Army on January 10, 1944. His skilled occupation probably explains why he was inducted so late into the war.

Just over one year later, Bennett was a Corporal in Company B, 1st Battalion, 358th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division. On February 1, 1945 near Heckhuscheid, Germany, as Company B was advancing, they came under fire from a fortified house. In a singular act of courage and incredible fighting spirit deemed worthy of the Medal of Honor, Bennett attacked alone and cleared the way for his comrades to advance.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (A-F):

Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon (background)
Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon (background)
Photo: Military Times’ Hall of Valor

BENNETT, EDWARD A.

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company B, 358th Infantry, 90th Infantry Division. Place and date: Heckhuscheid, Germany, February 1945. Entered service at: Middleport, Ohio

Citation: He was advancing with Company B across open ground to assault Heckhuscheid, Germany, just after dark when vicious enemy machinegun fire from a house on the outskirts of the town pinned down the group and caused several casualties. He began crawling to the edge of the field in an effort to flank the house, persisting in this maneuver even when the hostile machine gunners located him by the light of burning buildings and attempted to cut him down as he made for the protection of some trees. Reaching safety, he stealthily made his way by a circuitous route to the rear of the building occupied by the German gunners. With his trench knife he killed a sentry on guard there and then charged into the darkened house. In a furious hand-to-hand struggle he stormed about a single room which harbored 7 Germans. Three he killed with rifle fire, another he clubbed to death with the butt of his gun, and the 3 others he dispatched with his .45 caliber pistol. The fearless initiative, stalwart combat ability, and outstanding gallantry of Cpl. Bennett eliminated the enemy fire which was decimating his company’s ranks and made it possible for the Americans to sweep all resistance from the town.

Bennett also received the Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and four Purple Hearts for wounds received during World War II. He remained in the Army, and also served in combat during the Korean War during which he was commissioned as an officer. Bennett retired from the Army in 1962 after suffering a heart attack.

He passed away on May 2, 1983 at age 63, and was laid to rest in the Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, California.

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