Spokane, Team Fairchild celebrates local WWII veteran

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Lillian Patterson
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Wing leadership from Fairchild Air Force Base and Spokane city officials gathered to recognize retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Stan Bennet, a WWII veteran, for his great achievements during his military service to his country and local community, March 20, at a local Spokane retirement home.

Bennet served as a navigator with the 824th Bombardment Squadron and the 484th Bombardment Group during WWII. Even though he left active duty as a captain, he continued his service in the United States Air Force Reserves.

“Stan’s daughter Jan and I looked through several photos of young Stan, taken during WWII, at Toretto Air Base in Italy,” said Mike Pannek, Bennet’s son in law. “In those black and white glossies, you could see his firm set jaw, his forward leaning posture and his pride for his service.”

Col. Jeffrey Marshall, 92nd Air Refueling Wing vice commander, and Nadine Woodward, Spokane City mayor, attended the recognition the ceremony providing comments and thanks to Bennett for his commitment to serving as an Airman and steward of the community.

“Retired Major Bennet is a prime example of what it means to love your community and country,” said Marshall. “His commitment to his service, along with the sacrifices made by the many veterans before us, laid the foundation of excellence that our Airmen are both inspired, and live by today. I am proud to not only be here in recognition of Stan’s accomplishments, but also in recognition of his contributions to his country.”

Bennet enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943 when WWII came along. He was quickly promoted to Corporal and then attended Officer Candidate School. Soon after, Bennet promoted to 1st Lieutenant, and was assigned to the B-24 Liberator as a navigator. During this assignment, he flew multiple combat missions in support of WWII.

“While Stan was not a tall man in stature,” said Pannek. “He was a giant when it came to confidence, character, honor, wisdom, and his love for his community.”

Honor guardsmen from the base also attended the event, and presented Bennet with a letter of appreciation and a flag that was flown during a KC-135 Stratotanker mission as an additional sign of thanks for his service and commitment.   

Fairchild boasts a proud heritage and a legacy of excellence stemming back to 1942. By honoring the many veterans who provided their service to the Air Force and their country like Bennet, the base can continue to remind the current and future Airmen of the excellent service foundation laid before them.