Memorial to Hale Bennett from Senator of Nevada Dean Heller, May 12, 2014
Mr. Heller: Mr. President, today we honor the life and service of Hale Bennett, whose passing signifies a great loss to Nevada. I send my condolences and prayers to his wife Kay and all of Hale’s family in this time of mourning. Hale was a man committed to his country, his state, and community. He will be sorely missed.
Hale was a true patriot and served his country in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He flew combat missions over France, Germany and the Low Countries. Through the course of the war in Europe, he flew 68 bombing missions and went out on an additional 100 that returned without dropping bombs due to bad weather. Hale’s unit, the 553rd Squadron of the 386th Bomb Group, 9th Air Force, was so highly respected that on D-Day they were chosen to fly the final bombing runs over the Germans on Utah Beach as our troops were landing on the beach below. After the war, Hale was called once again to serve our nation by training bomber pilots for the Air Force during the Korean Conflict. As one of our nation’s service members, he made exceptional sacrifices for our country and deserves our deepest gratitude. I am both humbled and honored by not only his, but his family’s service to our great nation.
Hale and his wife were upstanding Nevadans and a huge asset to their community. His dedication to serving others extends far beyond our nation’s military. Hale worked as the Department of Motor Vehicles Chief of Registration and Titling and often represented his Department in the Nevada State Legislature. His work as Chairman of the Board of the Carson-Tahoe Hospital showcased his commitment to the betterment of the community and led him to meeting his wife, Kay. The couple, both on the hospital board of trustees and pilots, spent their time having many adventures together and contributing their community. The Bennett’s love for aviation and community service led them to Silver Springs, where they took on the daunting task of turning an abandoned airstrip into a thriving airport. His hard work and contributions to his community will remain a lasting legacy in the Silver State.
As a World War II veteran, Hale’s commitment to his country, as well as his dedication to his family and community, exemplified why the legacy of all World War II veterans must be preserved for generations to come. These veterans truly are the Greatest Generation—selflessly serving not for recognition, but because it was the right thing to do. As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I recognize that Congress has a responsibility not only to honor these brave individuals, but to ensure they are cared for when they return home. I remain committed to upholding this promise for our veterans and service members in Nevada and throughout the nation.
I extend my deepest sympathies to Kay and all of Hale’s family. We will always remember Hale for his courageous contributions to the United States of America and to freedom-loving nations around the world. His service to his country and his bravery and dedication to his family and community earn him a place among the outstanding men and women who have valiantly defended our nation.
Throughout his life, Hale maintained a dedication to the preservation of justice and integrity, which I am honored to commend. Today, I join the Silver Springs community and citizens of Silver State to celebrate the life of an upstanding Nevadan.