Charles I. Bennett, Jr. – Major General, United States Air Force Tennessee State Flag

From a contemporary press report:

General Charles I. Bennett, Jr. died on October 16, 1998, at his home in Jacksonville, Florida.

General Bennett’s career spanned assignments as personal pilot to General of the Army, Dwight D. Eisenhower; Executive Officer to Air Force Chief of Staff, General J.P. McConnell; Chief of Staff, 7th Air Force, Tan Son Nhut Air
Base, Republic of Vietnam; Commander, 47th Air Division and Commander 93rd Bomb Wing (SAC) Castle AFB, CA; Vice Commander, 8th Air Force, Anderson AFB, Guam; and Deputy Director of Plans and Operations, HQ USAF prior to his retirement in 1974. 

General Bennett enlisted as a private in the Army Air Corps at Camp Blanding, Florida in January 1941 and rose through the ranks to retire as a major general after more than 33 years of service. General Bennett retired at the highest grade of any former enlisted pilot in the Army Air Corps. 

General Bennett is survived by his wife, Kate Gordon Bennett; his eldest son, Maj. Charles I. Bennett, III, USAF (Ret.); his daughter, Madeleine Anne Ioannou, US State Department; his youngest son, Maj. James G. Bennett, USAF; his sister, Barbara Thornton and seven grandchildren. 

Interment with full military honors will be held November 5, 1998 at 11 a.m. at Arlington National Cemetery.

Courtesy of the United States Air Force

Retired July 1, 1974, Died October 16, 1998 

Major General Charles I. Bennett, Jr., is deputy director of plans, Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. 

General Bennett was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1922, and graduated from Landon High School, Jacksonville, Florida, in 1940. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in June 1941, entered the aviation cadet program in December 1941, and received his pilot wings at Lubbock, Texas, in 1942. He attended the Canal Zone College, Republic of Panama, in 1949; the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1954; and graduated from the United Kingdom Joint Services Staff College, London, England, in 1959. He attended The George Washington University, in 1965 and later that year graduated from the National War College. 

During World War II, from 1942 until 1944, he served with various air units in the United States and Europe as a ferry and air transport pilot, flying in the continental United States and the Middle East, Pacific-Asian and European areas in more than 15 different types of aircraft. In 1944 he was assigned to Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces, Europe, with duties as personal pilot for General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander, and continued as his pilot until General Eisenhower retired as chief of staff, U.S. Army. 

In September 1947 he was assigned as operations officer of the First Special Missions Squadron at Bolling Air Force Base, D.C. In October 1948 General Bennett went to Albrook Air Force Base, Canal Zone, and in June 1949 became the assistant director of operations. Prior to his return to the United States, he was assigned additional duties as director of intelligence at Albrook. 

In January 1952 he assumed duties as assistant adjutant, Air Command and Staff School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and in July 1952 became adjutant. From September 1953 to June 1954, he attended the Air Force Advanced Management Course at the University of Pittsburgh. 

General Bennett next was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as staff planning officer with the Strategic Studies Branch of the War Plans Division, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations. 

From January 1958 to August 1958, he attended the United Kingdom Joint Services Staff College at London, England. He next was assigned as plans and programs staff officer in the Directorate of Programs, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, at Wiesbaten, Germany, and in July 1960 assumed duty as Chief, NATO I Division, Directorate of Ballistic Missiles, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations. 

General Bennett returned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in July 1961 as planning and programming officer, Deputy Directorate of Plans for War Plans, Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations. In August 1964 he entered the National War College, Washington, D.C., and returned to duty at Headquarters U.S. Air Force in June 1965 as deputy assistant director of plans for National Security Council Affairs, Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations. From May 1966 to August 1969, he was executive to the Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force, General John P. McConnell. 

In August 1969 General Bennett was assigned as chief of staff, Seventh Air Force at Tan Son Nhut Airfield, Republic of Vietnam. He was transferred to Castle Air Force Base, Calif., in February 1971 as commander of the 47th Air Division of the Strategic Air Command and in June 1971 assumed duties as commander, 93d Bombardment Wing (SAC). General Bennett assumed duties as vice commander, Eighth Air Force with Headquarters at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in January 1972. 

General Bennett was appointed deputy director of plans, Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, in June 1973. 

His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal; Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster; Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster; Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with Combat “V” Device; Brazil Medal of War; National Order of Vietnam, Fifth Class; and Republic of Vietnam Air Service Medal, Honor Class. He is a command pilot. 

He was promoted to the grade of major general effective April 1, 1972, with date of rank August 1, 1968.


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