Military Order of the Purple Heart

Texas Capital Chapter 1919 Austin, Texas

 

FLOYD E. BENNETT
1920 - 2006

 

FLOYD E. BENNETT

Patriot, Chapter 1919

 (ARMY, WWII, Europe) Article November 1999

Floyd was wounded in the European Theatre during WWII, but his favorite recollection is that of his personal postwar encounter with General Douglas MacArthur.

Floyd E. Bennett was born in 1924 in Livingston Parish, Louisiana where he spent his growing-up years and attended school. At age 18 he was inducted into the Army at New Orleans in 1943. He was sent off to training courses at several installations, ending up with training at Camp Callan, California.  Following that, Floyd was shipped out to Europe in June 1944. He was assigned to a gun crew in Battery A, 574th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion  With that unit, he participated in the Campaigns of Northern France, The Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe. On Mar 18, 1945 he was wounded in Germany and required extensive treatment and recuperation from shell fragments to his right eye. After the War, he returned to the United States in December 1945, was discharged at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, and returned home to Livingston, Louisiana. 

Using the G.I. Bill, he attended Louisiana State University and then graduated with a BA degree from the University of South East Louisiana in Hammond in 1952.  Floyd was employed with the State Budget Office immediately after graduation.  His position in the budget office required extensive business travel. Soon, Floyd's identification with all things military and his wartime experiences seemed distant memories despite the fact that another war had been going on in Korea. 

During a trip to Natchez, he discovered an extra specia1 place to stay and so, when a return visit to that city was scheduled, he made reservations for a room at Stanton Hall. Stanton Hall is the premier old ante-bellum home in Natchez. Featured on travel brochures, it was an impressive place for any traveler to stay. It wasn't a place that businessmen ordinarily lodged; but, it wasn't prohibitively expensive for Floyd's travel budget either, so he intended to enjoy it at least that once. The mansion was wonderful (and still is), but it was old, and all the guests on Floyd's floor shared the single bathroom down the hall. Next morning, Floyd gets up and gets in line for the bathroom just before being joined by the distinguished looking gentleman guest from the room directly across the hall. He thought the man looked vaguely familiar somehow as they engaged in idle conversation during the lengthy wait as the line gradually diminished. When they were introducing themselves, Floyd didn't think much about it until the man only replied with his last name, MacArthur. Then he realized it was indeed the famous General, and as they parted, General MacArthur told him, "I hope we will meet again someday". 

Later, Floyd read the local Natchez newspaper story reporting General Douglas MacArthur's visit to that fair city and his stay in Stanton Hall before making a speech to the "Natchez Garden Club". This happened only a short time after President Truman retired the General from his command in Korea.

Floyd later became an auditor in Federal Civil Service and that career brought him to Austin 1972 where he and his wife, Lucille, have lived ever since. When asked about memorable wartime experiences, the above incident was the first story he wanted to recount. 

STANTON HALL: 1857. High at Pearl St. Stanton Hall is one of the most magnificent and palatial residences of antebellum America. A preservation project of the Pilgrimage Garden Club, it is furnished with Natchez antiques and many original furnishings of the Stanton family. National Historic Landmark.

 

Floyd E. Bennett provided this Purple Heart story for publication in the November 1999 issue of PATRIOT BULLETIN.  Floyd pssed away in May 2006.

Stanton Hall 1857

General MacArthur visits Natchez

 

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