Posted on: 15 January 1997
Last updated on: 15 January 1997
MILITARY BIOGRAPHY / CHRISTOPHER W BENNETT
Christopher William Bennett was born in 1957 in South Bend Indiana, and resided there for 19 years. He enlisted in the Air Force on December 6th 1976 at the age of 19. After Basic Training at Lackland AFB Texas, he attended the Aircraft Maintenance Technical Training School at Sheppard Air Force Base Texas.
Upon completion, he was assigned to the Tactical Air Command in the 4502nd Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Bergstrom Air Force Base Texas as an OV-10 Inspection team member from June 1977 through January of 1979.
From January 1979 through July of 1982, Airman First Class Bennett served as a Transient Alert Team Member assigned to the Pacific Air Command in the 51st Equipment Maintenance Squadron at Osan Air Base Republic of Korea, and achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant. This is where he met and married Kathleen Carroll, from Worcester Massachusetts, who was also in the Air Force.
From July 1982 through July 1984, Staff Sergeant Bennett was again reassigned to the Tactical Air Command at Bergstrom Air Force Base Texas, where he served as a Transient Alert Shift Chief for the 67th Equipment Maintenance Squadron.
Next, Staff Sergeant Bennett was assigned to the Strategic Air Command in the 9th Organizational Maintenance Squadron at Beale Air Force Base California in July of 1984. He served as an SR-71 Crew Chief and achieved the rank of Technical Sergeant. He then became an Expediter and Shift Chief for the SR-71 flightline. Promoted to Master Sergeant just prior to the SR-71 program closure, he was assigned as a U-2 flightline Expediter for the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron in January of 1991. Two short months later, he served as the night shift supervisor for the 4402nd Provisional Reconnaissance Squadron at Taif Air Base Saudi Arabia during operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. In 1992, he became the U-2 Production Superintendent and received his 9 skill level. In July of 1993, he deployed as the Maintenance Superintendent to RAF Alconbury in the United Kingdom to head up the transition between the 95th Reconnaissance Squadron deactivation, and the 9th Reconnaissance Wing Operating Location United Kingdom bed down. In August of 1994, Master Sergeant Bennett was selected as the SR-71 Maintenance Superintendent and deployed to Plant 10 Palmdale California, later moving to Detachment 2 at Edwards Air Force Base California. In his year and a half stay, he supervised the reactivation of two previously retired SR-71s to operational flying status, and served as the official Air Force authority for all maintenance performed by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works contract personnel. After both aircraft were brought to IOC status, he returned to Beale Air Force Base California in April of 1996 and became the Chief Operations Group Inspector for the 9th Logistics Support Squadron Quality Assurance Flight.
Master Sergeant Bennett officially retired on December 31st 1996, after serving his country for twenty years and twenty-five days. His decorations include three Meritorious Service Medals, three Air Force Commendation Medals, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, the Republic of Korea Presidential Citation, and the Air Force Good Conduct Medal with five oak leak clusters, amongst many others. Twelve and a half years of his career was spent at Beale Air Force Base California, in support of the SR-71 and U-2 aircraft, with over two of the last five years spent in TDY status for the 9th Reconnaissance Wing. Chris and Kathy have been married for nearly fifteen years, and will both stay in the Sacramento California area.
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