b. 25/10/1890 Warrensburg, New York. d. 25/04/1928 Quebec City, Canada.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 09/05/1926 Arctic Circle.
Bennett was born in Warrensburg, New York, in 1890. He was an automobile mechanic before he enlisted in the Navy in 1917, during World War I. Bennett attended flight school, learned to fly and was rated as an Aviation Pilot. Bennett served with Richard E. Byrd on an aviation survey of Greenland in 1925, on which Byrd came to respect his ability as a pilot.
Byrd named Bennett as his pilot for an attempt to reach the North Pole by air in 1926. Bennett was at the controls on May 9 as the two men made their attempt, in a Fokker Tri-motor called the Josephine Ford. They returned to their airfield in Spitzbergen on the same day. Although members of the European press were skeptical of their claim (because it seemed that the plane had been away from Spitzbergen too briefly to have reached the North Pole), Byrd and Bennett were lionized as heroes in America. Both Bennett and Byrd received the Medal of Honor for this feat. The subsequent discovery of Byrd's diary of the flight, with erased (but still legible) sextant readings, has been considered as evidence they could not possibly have reached the North Pole.
For distinguishing himself conspicuously by courage and intrepidity at the risk of his life as a member of the Byrd Arctic Expedition and thus contributing largely to the success of the first heavier-than-air flight to the North Pole and return.
BURIAL LOCATION: ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA.
Section 3, Grave 1852-B