George Bennett, U.S. Army, 1966-68.

Photo taken when George first got to his unit in Vietnam.


George Bennett served in the U.S. Army from 1966-1968. He was drafted into the Army Dec. 6, 1966, took his basic training at Ft. Ord, Calif, and his Advance Individual Training (AIT) there as well. George trained as a Field Wireman, which is the reason he ended up as a radio operator (RTO) in Vietnam.  From there he was stationed at Ft. Sill, OK, until Sept. 1967, going home for one month leave before shipping out to Vietnam early October, 1967. 

George was assigned to the 2/12th Infantry 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.  His assigned base camp was Dau Tieng in War zone C, not far from the Cambodian Border.  He met his friend and fellow Hoonah soldier James Lindoff Jr. of Hoonah in one day while walking to lunch.  He heard a voice cry out “George McKinley!” (George’s name as a child in Hoonah) and he knew that whoever just called out to him had to be someone from Hoonah.  They spent three days together before James’ unit had to depart.  They are both great friends to this day.

For a number of years after his return to Alaska where he lived in Fairbanks, George Bennett disavowed his Vietnam experience until he could no longer ignore his PTSD.  Since then he has moved back to Southeast Alaska (Sitka, where his father is from) where he works as the Rural Veteran Liaison with the Alaska Veterans Administration, helping enroll veterans in the VA and helping them receive veteran’s benefits. 

He attributes his health and well-being to a strong foundation in his Tlingit culture, which he received in large part due to being raised by Fannie and David McKinley.  Of his current life situation, he said “My wife Mary was the biggest supporter of me, and stood by me, and the rest of my children and grandchildren were a lot of strength to me.”  In turn, George Bennett has been a supporter and stood by Alaska Veterans.