Machinist Floyd Bennett, USN, (1890-1928)

Floyd Bennett was born on 26 October 1890 in Warrensburg, New York. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in December 1917 from that same state during World War I. His first duty station was at Naval Air Station, Bay Shore, New York. In the Spring of 1918, Bennett transferred to Naval Training Station, Norfolk, Virginia and was rated as a Machinist Mate Second Class, Aviation. Later in the Spring, he received orders to Naval Air Station, Hampton Roads, Virginia and in September was promoted to Machinist Mate First Class. In February 1919, Bennett was promoted to Chief Machinist Mate. That December, he was assigned to Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida and attended the aviation course for enlisted pilots. After graduation, he returned to the Hampton Roads Naval Air Station. In September 1924, Bennett served on board USS Richmond, where his rating was changed to Chief Aviation Pilot.

In April 1925, Bennett was assigned to Naval Air Station, Anacostia, Washington, D.C. and participated in the Naval Air Detail of the MacMillian Arctic Expedition. While on the expedition, he obtained the respect of Lieutenant Commander Richard E. Byrd, USN, who picked him as a co-pilot for his Byrd Arctic Expedition in the Spring of 1926. On 9 May 1926, with Lieutenant Commander Byrd, Bennett courageously co-piloted as they flew over the pole. For "the risk of his life" on this occasion, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

In January 1927, he was commissioned to the warrant officer rank of Machinist. Bennett then made a tour of America cities in the same plane from the Byrd Expedition. That April, as Bennett prepared to fly with Byrd in his trans-Atlantic flight from New York to France, he was injured during a test flight, rendering him unable to fly. In preparation for Byrd's next Expedition, which was to the Antarctic, he again picked Bennett to be his co-pilot. While the Expedition was in preparation, Bennett served as a team member on the first westbound trans-Atlantic flight from Ireland to Newfoundland, Canada. During the flight, he contracted pneumonia and remained afterwards in Quebec due to the illness. Floyd Bennett succumbed to pneumonia and died on 25 April 1928. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

USS Bennett (DD-473), 1942-1973, was named in honor of Machinist Bennett.

This page features all the images we have concerning Floyd Bennett.

Click the photograph to prompt a larger view.

Photo #: NH 50611

Chief Aviation Pilot Floyd Bennett, USN


Photographed in April 1925. Bennett served as co-pilot for Lieutenant Commander Richard E. Byrd's Arctic Expedition and was awarded the Medal of Honor, with Byrd, for their flight over the North Pole, 9 May 1926. Note the Aviation Pilot rating badge.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 41KB; 545 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 55481

Chief Aviation Pilot Floyd Bennett, USN


Bennett served as co-pilot for Lieutenant Commander Richard E. Byrd, USN, on the MacMillian Arctic Expedition in the Summer of 1925 and the Byrd Arctic Expedition of May 1926. For the later mission, he was awarded the Medal of Honor and commissioned to the warrant rank of Machinist.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 39KB; 580 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #:NH 56285

Lieutenant Commander Richard E. Byrd, USN,
(left)
and
Chief Aviation Pilot Floyd Bennett, USN,
(to Byrd's right in civilian clothes)

Disembark from SS Chantier after their trip to the North Pole, 23 June 1926.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.


 
Photo #: NH 56287

Lieutenant Commander Richard E. Byrd, USN,
(center)
and
Chief Aviation Pilot Floyd Bennett, USN,
(to Byrd's right)

Pictured on the day of their return to the United States after their historic expedition to the North Pole, 23 June 1926.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 37KB; 740 x 580 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 52782

Lieutenant Commander Richard E. Byrd, USN,
(center)
and
Chief Aviation Pilot Floyd Bennett, USN, (far left)

Pictured with Major General Charles P. Summerall, USA, and Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore D. Robinson on the day of their return to the United States after their historic expedition to the North Pole, 23 June 1926.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 44KB; 740 x 595 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 56284

Lieutenant Commander Richard E. Byrd, USN,

and
Chief Aviation Pilot Floyd Bennett, USN

Halftone newspaper article shows them at Miller Field, near New York City, New York for the Third Annual Air Meet of the Twenty-Seventh Air Service, circa 1926.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 74KB; 585 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 41634

President Calvin Coolidge


Presents to the Medal of Honor to Commander Richard E. Byrd, USN, and Machinist Floyd Bennett on White House grounds, circa 1927. They were awarded the Medal of Honor for their flight to the North Pole on 9 May 1926.
Personnel left to right are:
Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore D. Robinson;
Secretary of the Navy Curtis Wilbur;
Commander Richard E. Byrd, USN;
President Calvin Coolidge;
Machinist Floyd Bennett, USN;
Admiral Edward W. Eberle, USN,
Chief of Naval Operations;
Admiral William A. Moffett, USN,
Chief of Bureau of Aeronautics

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 112KB; 740 x 580 pixels

 
NH 43443

Fokker BA-1 Airplane "Josephine Ford"


Halftone newspaper photograph shows her at Miller Field, New York, 1926. Lieutenant Commander Richard E. Byrd, USN, and Chief Aviation Pilot Floyd Bennett, USN, used this plane in their flight to the North Pole, 9 May 1926.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 62KB; 740 x 590 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 43444

Fokker BA-1 Airplane "Josephine Ford"


Halftone newspaper photograph shows her being unloaded from SS Chantier in New York Harbor, 1926, after returning from Spitzbergen. It had been flown over the North Pole by Lieutenant Commander Richard E. Byrd, USN, and Chief Aviation Pilot Floyd Bennett, USN, 9 May 1926..

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 83KB; 740 x 595 pixels

 
Photo #:NH 44161

Fokker BA-1 Airplane "Josephine Ford"


Used by Lieutenant Commander Richard E. Byrd, USN, and Chief Aviation Pilot Floyd Bennett, USN, on their flight over the North Pole from Kings Bay, Spitzbergen on 9 May 1926.
BA-1 is presumed to indicate Byrd Arctic One.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 41KB; 740 x 595 pixels

 


Medal of Honor citation of Machinist Floyd Bennett, USN (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 129):

"For distinguishing himself conspicuously by courage and intrepidity at the risk of his life as a member of the Byrd Arctic Expedition and thus contributing largely to the success of the first heavier-than-air flight to North Pole and return."



For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions

To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.





About Us | Privacy Policy | Webmaster | FOIA request | Navy.mil | This is a US Navy website