The Town of Huntington plans to add the name of a Tuskegee Airman from Halesite to the town’s World War II Memorial.
Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci said the Town had discovered the name of a Tuskegee Airman from Halesite, Second Lt. Joseph B. Bennett.
“On this final week of Black History Month in 2021, we are thrilled to be able to add this most deserving Word War II pilot, Joseph B. Bennett, to the Town of Huntington World War II Memorial in just the nick of time, thanks to the Newsday article on local Tuskegee Airmen and the great work of our Veterans Affairs Coordinator Carol Rocco,” said Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci.
Rocco learned about the Halesite connection while reading an article in Newsday, Famed Tuskegee Airmen included LIers who paid a price abroad and at home,
Rocco discovered that he was not in the list of names on the Town of Huntington World War II Memorial located in Veterans Plaza on the front lawn of Town Hall.
The World War II Memorial on Veterans Plaza honors the memory, service and sacrifice of Huntington’s World War II veterans; there are 6,000 names on the memorial, which have been added in four phases on 15 plaques.
The unveiling ceremony for the final plaque had been scheduled for last June but was postponed by COVID-19 limitations.
Rocco researched Bennett’s name and found an obituary, which revealed he passed away at the age of 93 on Jan. 13. She contacted the James Hunt Funeral Home in New Jersey who put her in touch with Bennett’s daughter, who gave approval to add his name to the World War II Memorial.
Joseph B. Bennett grew up in Halesite and entered the Civilian Pilot Training Program at Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, Ala. As a military pilot, he earned several medals and retired with the rank of captain. As a civilian, Bennett continued his flying career flying private chartered planes for presidential families and other socialites until becoming an aviation consultant.
Photos of Tuskegee Airman Joseph B. Bennett provided by James Hunt Funeral Home