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U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Clyde Eugene Bennett, Colonel, USAF, (Retired)
February 2, 1932 – December 13, 2021
Lubbock, Texas – Memorial services for Clyde Eugene Bennett, Colonel, USAF retired, 89, of Lubbock, TX, will be held at 11:00 am, January 4, 2022, at St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Lubbock, with Rev. David Perdue officiating. Cremation and services are under the direction of Abell Funeral Home & Flower Shop of Abernathy, TX.
Col. Bennett died Monday, December 13, 2021.
He was born February 2, 1932 in St. Matthews, SC to Jacob C. and Nora (Taylor) Bennett. He graduated from St Matthews, SC, High School in 1950. He was active in Boy Scouts attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. He attended the University of South Carolina on a football scholarship. Clyde was selected 2nd Team All American. He was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003 and is still in the top 50 players at the University.
Clyde “Mule” Bennett, a member of the University of South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame, has passed away at the age of 89, in Lubbock, Texas.
Bennett, a football All-ACC and third-team All-American in 1953, played split end and defensive end for the Gamecocks. He was inducted into the USC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.
The St. Matthews, S.C. native was referenced in a 2017 article in The State as one of the “Top 50 Gamecocks of all time.”
He led the Gamecocks in receiving in 1952 with 34 catches for 502 yards and, in 1953 with 23 catches for 413 yards.
Bennett also appeared in the Blue-Grey All-Star game in 1953.
The 1953 Gamecock team finished 7-3 overall and defeated #8-ranked West Virginia, 20-14, in Morgantown. Following the win, the Gamecocks appeared in the AP Poll for the first time in school history at a #18 ranking.
He was taken in the 3rd round of the 1954 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, but eventually played one season for the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1954. Following his only pro football season, Bennett entered the U.S. Air Force, earning the rank of Colonel.
He earned his bachelor’s degree at USC in 1954. Clyde entered the United States Air Force in 1955 and in December of 1957 he arrived at Reese AFB in Lubbock for pilot training. There he met Dolores Roberson , a student at Texas Tech. They were married in June of 1960 and returned to Japan where he was stationed. He was stationed at Charleston AFB, SC, upon return to the US in 1961. In 1964 He was selected Initial Cadre for the new C-141 aircraft. In 1971, he flew a tour in H-53’s Jolly Green Rescue Helicopters in Southeast Asia. In 1974 he was assigned to Charleston AFB as Commander of the 20th Military Aircraft Squadron. Under his leadership the 20th became known as the “Bennett’s Bandits”. He was promoted to Colonel in 1975 and was assigned Deputy Commander of Operations until he retired in 1978. The last summer of active duty was spent in Zaire Africa with the 2nd Regiment of the French Foreign Legions Elite Airborne Rangers leaving with the uprising there in 1978. He retired with approximately 14,000 hours of flying time in an assortment of aircraft. Clyde was a member of AA for 38 years and was a member of the Daedalians.
Clyde was preceded in death by his son, Ross, and son-in-law, Keith Cleveland.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Dolores, and a daughter, Robin, 2 brothers-in-law Ken Roberson and Herbert Stone, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
The family suggests memorial donations be sent to the Ross Roberson Bennett Memorial Scholarship Fund, Collegiate Recovery Community, PO Box 41160, Lubbock, TX 79409
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