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Maurice Hogue Bennett


Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the U.S.S. Liberty Incident

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant Maurice Hogue Bennett, United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in connection with the unprovoked and unexpected armed attack on U.S.S. LIBERTY (AGTR), in the Eastern Mediterranean, on 8 June 1967. During the early afternoon hours, U.S.S. LIBERTY, while engaged in peaceful operations in international waters, was attacked without warning by jet fighter aircraft and three motor torpedo boats. The LIBERTY was subjected to intense incendiary, machine gun, and rocket fire and was placed in extreme jeopardy by a torpedo hit below the waterline on the starboard side in the vicinity of the Research compartment. Severe structural damage and extensive personnel casualties were incurred. Lieutenant Bennett, serving as Assistant Research Officer, was in the research spaces during the attack. Without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own personal safety he entered a compartment which seconds before was demolished by a torpedo explosion and brought to safety one officer who had been severely burned and temporarily blinded. Though wounded himself and in spite of great personal fatigue and without regard for his own personal comfort and well-being, he supervised evacuation of the undamaged research spaces and devoted many hours in providing for the comfort, safety and welfare of his shipmates. His aggressiveness and coolness under fire was exceptional inspirational leadership in an hour of awesome peril. Lieutenant Bennett's initiative and courageous actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: 8-Jun-67

Service: Navy

Rank: Lieutenant

Company: Communications Officer

Division: U.S.S. Liberty (AGTR-5)