The late Marine Col. Jefferson DeBlanc and the late Air Force Capt. Steven Bennett were fighter pilots who were shot down while protecting the lives of others. DeBlanc served in World War II and Bennett served in the Vietnam War. President Harry Truman presented the Medal of Honor to DeBlanc on Dec. 6, 1946. Vice President Gerald Ford presented the National Medal of Honor to Bennett’s widow, Linda, and 2 ½-year-old daughter, Angela, on Aug. 8, 1974.
LAFAYETTE — Marine Col. Jefferson DeBlanc and the late Air Force Capt. Steven Bennett have much in common.
Both are University of Louisiana at Lafayette alumni. Both were fighter pilots in two of the biggest conflicts in United States history. And both earned the Medal of Honor, the highest award given to U.S. military service members for acts of valor during combat.
Recipients are recognized yearly on Medal of Honor Day. The federal holiday, observed on March 25, has been celebrated since 1991.