In Memory

Craig C. Bennett

Craig C. Bennett


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05/10/09 04:42 PM #1    

Larry Nelson

Craig Charles Bennett: November 30, 1942 - February 28, 2008

I first met Craig in 2nd Grade in Dodgeville, before he transferred to St. Joseph Grade School. I still remember the drawing that Craig produced of the longitudinal section of a fleet submarine. The drawing must have been 6-foot long and our teacher taped it to the bottom of the black board.

Craig attended Marquette College of Engineering as a Mechanical Engineer and joined NROTC. The Navy tried very hard to make Craig a nuclear engineer. He had and passed the necessary interview with Admiral Hyman Rickover. Craig related the Admiral said, "Your too fat" and that concluded the interview. Now, who could make that up!

But, Craig wanted to be a ship's engineering officer and not a nuclear engineer on some carrier. So, he told me that he intentionally funked the test and two remedial tests as well.

He did became the Engineering Officer on the USS Rockville, a spy ship stationed off Cuba. He had one tour in the Republic of Viet Nam.

Following his military service, Craig had a number of jobs with various companies involved in the manufacture of large engines for ships, the last being at Caterpiller.

Craig had a series of strokes about 8-years ago, the first while deer hunting with friends northwest of Dodgeville. Both Jim and Dick Blotz and myself lost contact with Craig after he left the hospital in Madison.

We understand he retired and moved to the southwest. His friends from Mineral Point eventually got him to move back to a care facility in Dubuque, Iowa. I believe he resided in Dubuque a relatively short time.

His family attributed his failing health to toxic chemicals he came in contact with in the Republic of Viet Nam where he served with the USN. Craig often said he had been medically diagnosed with “bad blood.” I recall that he was the Assistant Engineering Officer on the USS Princeton in 1967 -1968. (I was on Okinawa at the time and one of my tasks was to track Philbron 7, the task force that the Princeton lead.) I did not know that, Craig said out of boredom, he volunteered to skipper small craft up the DaNang River to resupply USMC units. According to his family, during those missions, he came into contact with agent orange, which was used to defoliate the jungle canopy.

Jim Blotz and I attended the funeral on March 4, 2008. He is buried in the St. John’s Catholic Cemetery, Spring Green in the family plot next to his Mother, who died when Craig was in High School.

Larry D. Nelson

06/29/09 02:30 PM #2    

Ralph Forseth

RALPH FORSETH, I remenber Craig as a fun and jovial person, very sorry to hear of his passing.  He also could recite the entire label on a Budweiser can, very dear to my heart.

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