Person Male Born 19/1/1917 Died 17/11/2010
Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Lee Bennett was born on 19 January 1917 in Boise, Ada County, Idaho, USA, the eldest of the four children of Earl Phillips Bennett (1893-1977) and Ethel Lee Bennett née Bailey (1891-1970).
In 1940 he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was a pilot holding the rank of Flight Sergeant and came to England in 1941 where he was assigned to No.133 Squadron at RAF Biggin Hill, Kent being promoted to the rank of Pilot Officer. When in August 1942 the squadron was disbanded and became the 336th Fighter Squadron in the United States Army Air Corps he transferred to the new squadron. On 11 March 1943 was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and in March 1944 he became an Engineering Officer, assigned to Headquarters, VIII Fighter Command.
He remained in the USAF after the war, serving at bases in Arizona, Texas and New Mexico, as well as one tour in England as a maintenance officer. In November 1963 he retired from the USAF as a Lieutenant Colonel. He became an engineer for Custom Pools Company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, retiring in 1980, having married Billie Brunette Phillips (1917-1995). They had one daughter. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.
He died, aged 93 years, on 17 November 2010 in Hobbs, Lea County, New Mexico, and was buried in Section 9, Site 1117-A, in the Santa Fe National Cemetery, 501 North Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico.