In Memory

Bruce W. Bennett

Bruce W. Bennett



 
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09/17/14 05:08 PM #1    

Harold E. Belcher

Bruce Bennett was a wonderful person and true friend who I shall never forget!

I met Bruce and his family at the Cheverly United Methodist in 1961.  We became friends immediately.  I would visit his home on Montrose Road and got to know his Mom, Dad (Donald), Sister (Betty) and Brother (Neil class of '63) quite well.  They were wonderful people.  Bruce, Neil and I would often meet at the BHS smoking area for a smoke.  We would share cigarettes, jokes and stories.  Bruce, Neil and I worked on weekends, Holidays and during the summers at Wilber Engleman's Azalea Nursery on Finns Lane in Lanham which was just down the road from Mr. Garber's (our metal shop teacher) home.  All three of us had well developed senses of humor.  We would play tricks on each other and goof around while leanring the ins and outs of azalea culture.  During the time I worked at the nursery, I was able to earn enough money to buy a car to drive to college.

After High School, Bruce joined the Marine Corps.  He trained at Paris Island and Camp Pendleton, CA.  We always remained close.  I would write to him when I could.  In the Spring of 1965, I decided to join the Marine Corps Platoon Leadership Program.  The evening before I was to go to sign the induction papers and raise my right hand the telephone rang.  It was Bruce calling from Bethesda Naval Hospital.  He had been shot three times during a firefight in Vietnam.  He told me what had happened to him and how he was doing in recovery.  He also told me a lot about the war in Vietnam and his experiences there.  When I told him I was joining the Corps, he said "Don't ask for this!  If you are drafted you can make a decision, but don't ask for this".  The next day I called the Corps and told them I wouldn't be signing up!  That did not go well with the sargent.

One night Bruce Dodd and I went to Bethesda Navel with an extra set of clothes.  We got Bruce out of bed and dressed and headed for the stairs.  Before we got there, the Corpsman (Jim) saw us and exclained "This man has been woulded and needs medical supervision, I'll change and meet you in the stairwell."  So off the four of us went to the Zebra Room for pizza and beer.  The first of several adventures while Bruce was at Bethesda, and many more after he left Bethesda.

I was an usher at his first wedding and the best man at his second.  I have remained in contact with his Mother-in-Law and his daughter,  I have kept his letters from Vietnam.

Bruce had a dramatic effect on my life! Who knows what would have happened if not for his telephone call.  Rest easy Bruce, I will never forget you!


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