September 12, 2013
Written by Jaryn Jones
Jack Bennett was honored for his service by the French government as a Knight of the French Legion of Honor – the highest honor bestowed by the European country to either members of the military or civilians.
World War II veteran and Texas Tech University alumnus Jack Bennett recently received the prestigious Distinguished Service Award from Chancellor Kent Hance and the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents.
Bennett was among the troops that invaded Normandy, France on June 6, 1944, known as “D-Day.” After the war, he decided to finish his studies at Texas Tech and graduated with a degree in agriculture in 1949.
Although Bennett was unable to travel to Lubbock, the Distinguished Service Award was announced during the May 2013 Texas Tech commencement ceremonies and was received warmly by the crowd.
“It was the first time I’d seen someone get a standing ovation when they weren’t even there,” Hance joked about the announcement. “I think that says a lot about the people we graduate and those who attend our ceremonies. They are honored that Jack Bennett attended Texas Tech and proud of what he has done for our nation.”
Bennett recently was honored for his service by the French government as a Knight of the French Legion of Honor. This is the highest honor bestowed by France to members of the military, and it was presented to him in May during a small ceremony at his home in Richardson.
While in the area for a Red Raider football game, Chancellor Hance was able to visit Bennett’s home as well to deliver the Distinguished Service Award personally.
“When he first called me I was astounded,” Bennett said. “It’s a great honor, really, to receive this award, and I do appreciate them coming out to visit me.”
This is the third Distinguished Service Award Hance has presented during his time as chancellor, and he said the honor goes far beyond recognizing alumni.
“This is a great award for him, but an even greater honor for Texas Tech,” he said. “It exemplifies what we stand for and who we are. We’re the Jack Bennetts of the world, and that’s the type of person we want to be.”
Before he landed at Normandy, 20-year-old Jack Bennett said he hadn’t even been to a funeral.
On that fateful day, June 6, 1944, he and his other buddies in the 18th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division waded out and ran for the cover of the cliffs.
They were the second wave to arrive in a surprise attack... [more]