Updated: August 18, 2011
Thomas J. Bennett ADJ 2
The following contributed by John Sees and Tom Pinkley: "I don't know for sure but I suspect the individual I will list was one of a very few non flying members of VFP-62 who was killed in the line of duty.
In May of 1964 Det 59 was out on the Forrestal for Carrier Quals prior to our Med Deployment. The Forrestal developed a problem in a pump, starboard side aft which could only be repaired in dry dock. The Air Group off loaded to the Independence to finish the Quals we had started on the Forrestal. During that time, Thomas J. Bennett ADJ 2 died May 23,1964 of a head injury on the flight deck of CVA 62. Tom was born December 1941 and was a member of VFP 62 . Perhaps you might make mention of him in your In Memoriam list."
Tom was down to about 33 days left on his enlistment - and while supportive of all the Navy had done for him, he was truly looking forward to the time he was to become a civilian again. He was one of the most "stand-up" guys we had in VFP-62 - always with a smile on his face and a good word for all he encountered. - provided by George Montgomery.
Tom stood out in my mind in a positive way. I recall Tom as a quick wit sharp person with a great sense of humor he had a ?special style? to him. The type of person you liked to be around and looked up to. I did not go to sea with Tom but we served together at Cecil field between deployments. --Pete Wallace
Updated 8/18/11: I was aboard The USS Enterprise when I received the sad news about Tom and his death aboard The USS Independence while serving his country. Tom was a person of good character, honest and dependable. He was highly respected and shared his knowledge and was a good listener as well. He was very friendly and treated you with respect. We had good conversations at the Enlisted Men's Club. Tom was a mentor to me and I wanted "to be like Tom". I remember his 1959 red Austin Healy, he would let me take care of it and use while he was away on carrier quals. He taught me that sports car owners always waved at others in sport cars. Maybe that was just Tom's way of being friendly. Now that I look at it, I did some things to be like Tom, I bought a sports car before I got out of the Navy, and yes, I waved at others to be friendly, passed the Navy test to advance to ADJ 2, and I continued my education after the Navy, also as Tom had planned.
I don't know for sure if there is a Heaven, if there is, Tom is there. If I make it, Tom will be one of the first that I try to find and maybe, just maybe, there will be an Enlisted Men's Club.
Robert R. King ADJ 3
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Memorial Program contributed by George Montgomery
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