Patriot, Chapter 1919
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.
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.