BENNETT, WILLIAM GEORGE
Name: William George Bennett
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 15 September 1927
Home City of Record: Birmingham AL
Date of Loss: 02 September 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 173000N 1061500E (XE335357)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.
REMARKS: SURVIVAL UNLIKELY
SYNOPSIS: The F105 Thunderchief (or "Thud") performed yoeman service on many
diversified missions in Southeast Asia. F105s flew more combat missions over
North Vietnam than any other USAF aircraft and consequently suffered the
heaviest losses in action.
Maj. William G. Bennett was the pilot of an F105D Thunderchief sent on a
mission in North Vietnam on September 2, 1967. During the mission, the
aircraft was shot down and Maj. Bennett was declared Missing in Action.
Bennett's last known location was in Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam,
about 15 miles north of the Ban Karai Pass. The Department of Defense added
remarks "Survival Unlikely" but it is not known what nature of evidence is
available to support this remark.
Unconfirmed reports were received by Bennett's family that he had been
killed while attempting to escape a POW camp, but Bennett's name did not
appear on the list provided by the Vietnamese of those POWs who had died in
Some years later, in an attempt to establish a ranking for those cases that
could be readily resolved by the Vietnamese should they wish to cooperate,
the Defense Intelligence Agency devised "enemy knowledge categories 1-5."
Category 1 indicated certain enemy knowledge, a category generally reserved
for those who were known POWs. Category 5, on the other end of the scale,
related personnel who were killed and remains were considered
nonrecoverable. Bennett was placed in category 2, indicating there was a
good chance the enemy knows his fate.
Mounting evidence indicates that some Americans are still alive being held
prisoner of war in Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese pledged to return all
prisoners of war and provide the fullest possible accounting of the missing
in the peace accords signed in 1973. They have done neither, and the U.S.
has not compelled them to do so.
The United States government pledged that the POW/MIA issue is of "highest
national priority" but has not achieved results indicative of a priority.
Mitchell and the nearly 2500 Americans who remain unaccounted for in
Southeast Asia deserve our best efforts to bring them home, not empty
William G. Bennett was promoted to the rank of Colonel during the period he
was maintained Missing in Action.