Aubrey L. "Ben" Bentley - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Aubrey L. "Ben" Bentley

Aubrey L. "Ben" Bentley: Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with Valor, and Purple Heart.

Ben Bentley is a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel and a resident of Huntsville. He is married and has one son and one daughter. He wants to thank his wife and soul mate "Ginny" for all the support she has given him during their marriage.

Ben is employed at Defense Acquisition Incorporated and he enjoys fishing and woodworking. He is a big fan of Alabama football and the Dallas Cowboys.

On 28 December 1968, then Captain Bentley was serving as an aircraft commander of an AH-1G gunship in the Republic of Vietnam. When a light observation helicopter received enemy fire and crashed. The crew was evacuated but the aircraft and valuable weapons and avionics equipment was in danger of being captured by the enemy. With great difficulty and under intense enemy fire a friendly infantry unit was able to be airlifted to the scene. During the attempts to land the infantry and recover the equipment, Ben Bentley made continuous aerial rocket and machinegun attacks until his ordnance was completely exhausted. His extraordinary courage contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission. For his heroic actions, Ben Bentley was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

On 7 March 1969 Ben Bentley was serving as an aircraft commander of a gunship in the Republic of Vietnam. During a reconnaissance operation to evacuate ground forces, he applied deadly accurate aerial rocket and machine gun fire along a tree line near the pick-up zone. He then made numerous low level passes during the extraction to draw enemy fire away from the friendly forces being lifted out. After successfully drawing enemy fire away during two extractions, he was able to pinpoint and neutralize several enemy positions. For his valorous actions, Ben Bentley was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

On 9 March 1969 Ben Bentley was serving as a platoon leader for a flight of armed helicopters on a visual reconnaissance mission while serving in the Republic of Vietnam. When a scout helicopter reported ground fire, ground troops were inserted and immediately made contact with a two battalion sized enemy force. He began immediate suppressive fire and at the same time his wing aircraft received hits which required that aircraft to return to base. His aircraft then experienced mechanical difficulties with its weapon systems which did not allow their full use. He made numerous passes to draw enemy fire away from the friendly ground forces and marked enemy targets so other aircraft could direct fire on the enemy positions. Despite the fact his aircraft had been damaged by enemy fire, and his weapons were not fully operational, he continued to fly throughout the day in support of the friendly forces on the ground. For his heroic actions, Ben Bentley was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Between 16 and 17 May 1969 Ben Bentley distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions while serving aboard a Cobra gunship during a rescue mission. When a mobile force unit came under heavy attack from an enemy force his aircraft was requested to provide gun cover and evacuation of the ground forces. In spite of deteriorating weather and cloud cover, his aircraft made numerous gun runs and placed accurate rocket and machine gun fire on the enemy forces. His aircraft then escorted the extraction helicopters into the area under heavy automatic weapons fire. For his actions on that date, Ben Bentley was awarded the Air Medal with Valor.

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