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 William L. Bennett Jr.
Captain, United States Navy
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William Leo Bennett Jr., 85, a retired Navy Captain who was commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown during the Pueblo crisis, died November 27, 2006, at Falcons Landing retirement community in Potomac Falls. He had congestive heart failure.

In January 1967, the lightly armed spy ship USS Pueblo was seized by North Korea in what that nation claimed were its territorial waters. The commander, Lloyd M. Bucher, and his crew were held and tortured for 11 months before their release after signing false confessions.
 
After the ship's seizure, the Navy ordered the Yorktown and another carrier, USS Enterprise, to the Sea of Japan on a search-and-rescue mission. But the ship was soon relieved of its assignment.

Captain Bennett returned to Washington and retired from active duty in 1972. He became a project manager at Ensco Inc., a high-tech research and development company; director of quality assurance at Amtrak; and vice president of operations at Intertek Corp.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Bath, Maine. After graduating in 1943 from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, he went on to participate in invasions of several Pacific islands.

He later became a test pilot and flew helicopter rescue missions during the Korean War.

His decorations included the Legion of Merit, two awards of the Navy Commendation Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.

His memberships included the Early and Pioneer Naval Aviators Association, also called the Golden Eagles, and Army Navy Country Club.

He had lived in Falls Church for 25 years before moving to Potomac Falls in 1996.

His marriage to Mary Louise Short "Lou" Bennett ended in divorce. His second wife, Mary Louise Aspinwall "Mary-Lou" Bennett, died in 2004.

A daughter from his first marriage, Elizabeth Payne, died in 1996.

Survivors include his wife, Pat Ricketts King Bennett of Potomac Falls; three children from his first marriage, Mary Christine Cooke of Arlington, Susan Smith of Fairfax County and William L. Bennett III of Fredericksburg; four stepchildren, Lucy Richardson of Harrisburg, Pa., Mary Preston of Lake Ridge, John F. Knapp Jr. of Falls Church and Paul S. King of Houston; a sister; a stepsister; 15 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.


WILLIAM L. BENNETT, Jr. (Age 85)

Retired Navy Captain, died at Falcons Landing on November 27, 2006. Formerly of Falls Church, Virginia, for 25 years prior to moving to Potomac Falls in 1996. Children of his first marriage to Mary Louise Short Bennett include Mary Christine Cooke, Susan Bennett Smith, William L. Bennett, III and Elizabeth Nancy Payne, deceased, nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Surviving step-children from his marriage to Mary Louise Knapp Bennett, deceased, are Lucy Richardson, Mary Preston, John F. Knapp, Jr. and four grandchildren. He is survived by his current wife, Pat Ricketts King Bennett, one step-son, Paul S. King and two grandchildren.

Funeral Services will be held on Friday, January 26, 2006, 1 p.m. at the Fort Myer - Old Post Chapel, Fort Myer, Virginia. Graveside services and interment will follow with Full Military Honors for his rank, in Arlington National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Capt. Bennett's memory to USS Yorktown CV-10 Association, Inc., PO Box 1021, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina 29464.



William L. Bennett, 85, of Potomac Falls, a retired Navy Captain and decorated combat veteran of three wars, died of a heart ailment Nov. 27 at Falcons Landing in Potomac Falls, Virginia.

Services are January 26, 2007, at 1 p.m. at the Fort Myer-Old Post Chapel. Graveside services and burial with full military honors will follow at Arlington National Cemetery.

Captain Bennett was born November 7, 1921, in Brooklyn, New York, to the late William and Anna Bennett. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in the class of 1944 and earned his Navy Wings in 1945. He served in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam.

His decorations include the Legion of Merit, two Navy Commendation Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, among others.

Captain Bennett retired from the Navy in 1972 and was a project manager for ENSCO Inc., director of quality assurance for AMTRAK and vice president of operations at Intertek Corp. He was active in the USS Yorktown Association and Foundation, and the Early and Pioneer Naval Aviators Association. He lived in Falls Church before moving to Potomac Falls in 1996.

His first wife, Mary Louise Short Bennett, and his daughter, Elizabeth N. Payne, preceded him in death.

Survivors include his wife, Pat Ricketts King Bennett of Potomac Falls; two daughters, Mary C. Cooke and Susan B. Smith; a son, William L. Bennett III; two stepdaughters, Lucy Richardson and Mary Preston; two stepsons, John F. Knapp Jr. and Paul S. King; 15 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Memorials may be sent to USS Yorktown CV-10 Association Inc., P.O. Box 1021, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina 29464.


Posted: 6 December 2006 Updated: 23 December 2006
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Legion of Merit