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Harold George Bennett


Name: Harold George Bennett
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army
Date of Birth: 16 October 1940 (Thornburg AR)
Home City of Record: Perryville AR
Date of Loss: 29 December 1964
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 103740N 1071950E (YS549755)
Status (in 1973): Killed In Captivity
Category: 1
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Other Personnel In Incident: Charles Crafts (released 1967)

SYNOPSIS: Harold Bennett and Charles Crafts were MACV advisors to an ARVN unit operating in Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam. A native of Maine, Crafts had been in country about 1 month.

On the afternoon of December 29, 1964, Bennett, Crafts and their ARVN unit made contact with Viet Cong guerrillas and the unit engaged in a firefight. During the firefight, both were taken prisoner.

By early 1965, Crafts and Bennett joined other prisoners held by the Viet Cong. Those who returned supplied information on the fates of those who did not. In late spring, 1965, Bennett began to refuse food. This was not an uncommon occurrence among prisoners suffering dysentery, malnutrition, malaise, injury and other ills that were common among prisoners of war in the South. Normally, the other prisoners worked hard to prevent further illness by forcing food on the POW who refused food, provided the sick man was not isolated. Returned POWs report the death of several men from the cycle of illness-refusal to eat- depression-starvation.

Bennett apparently did not die of starvaton, however. The Vietnamese National Liberation Front (NLF) announced on Radio Hanoi on June 24, 1965 that Bennett had been shot in retaliation for Viet Cong terrorist Tran Van Dong's execution by South Vietnam. He was the first POW to be executed in retaliation.

When the war ended in 1973, the Vietnamese listed Bennett as having died in captivity. They did not return his remains. He is one of nearly 2400 Americans still missing in Southeast Asia. Many, like Bennett did not survive. But experts now say, based on thousands of reports received, that hundreds are still alive.

We, as Americans had no say in the death of Harold Bennett. We do, however, have the power to prevent the deaths of the hundreds still alive. If we do nothing, we will be guilty of their deaths. We must bring them home, while there is still time.

As long as even one American remains alive, held against his will, we must do everything possible to bring him home alive.

POW/MIA Data & Bios supplied by the P.O.W. NETWORK Skidmore, MO. USA