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Colonel Neil Balmer Bentz

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Colonel Neil Balmer Bentz Obituary
Bentz, Colonel Neil BalmerColonel Neil Balmer Bentz, 91, of Center Valley, died Tuesday August 19, 2014 at his home after a long illness. He was the husband of Janet S. J. (Erney) Bentz. They celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary on August 7, 2014. Born in Freeland, PA, he was the son of the late Frank B. Bentz and Carolyn E. (Krum) Bentz.Colonel Bentz was a graduate of Allentown High School in 1940, the United States Army Air Force Undergraduate Pilots Academy and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant Pilot on January 08, 1944. He was also a graduate of the Parks/Cape Institute of Aeronautics Technology, BS in Aeronautics; the Air War College/ University, major in Political Science and International Relations ; The Industrial College of the Armed Forces,major in Industrial Engineering and Defense Policy Management;The Director of Aerospace OfficersStaff School; The Aerospace Maintenance Officers Staff School and the B-24 RTU Combat Crew Flying School. He completed Graduate studies in Accounting, Personnel Management, International Relations, Computer Science, Political Science and Budget and Fiscal Management. He also attended numerous additional Air Force and Civilian Schools, Seminars and Courses related to Labor Management Relations, Personnel Management, Budget and Fiscal Management, Logistics, Materials Management, Aircraft Accident Investigation, Safety and Security. He served on the Wing Aircraft Accident Investigation Board. During his military career Colonel Bentz was assigned as Pilot, Aircraft Commander, Squadron Commander, Group/ Wing Staff Material Officer, Deputy Group/Wing Commander for Material, Group/Wing Chief of Maintenance and Director of Aerospace Maintenance Special Operations Wing. Colonel Bentz served during WW II in North Africa and Italy as Pilot on the B-24 Heavy Bomber. During the Korean War he served out of the country with the 148 Fighter Squadron and the 60th Troop Carrier Wing. During the Vietnam War he served with an Air Force Special Operations Wing based out of the Korat Royal Thai Airbase, Thailand.During his last assignment he was Director of Aerospace Maintenance with an Air Force Special Operations Wing (ANG). He was assigned as Special Projects Coordinator, to monitor contractors for quality and costs overrun during the update of state of the art equipment for a TS/SR need to know unique one of a kind sophisticated Electronic Warfare System. Upon his retirement in 1982 he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (AF) for outstanding performance as the Special Projects Coordinator. During his military service he additionally received the Air Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with V and Two Oak Leaf Clusters, Combat Readiness Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with two Silver Hourglass Devices, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European Campaign Medal with Nine Battle Stars, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Bronze Palm, the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, the PA Meritorious Service Medal, the PA Commendation Medal with Silver Star, the General Thomas White Jr. Medal and the General Stewart Medal. Colonel Bentz was a licensed Private Pilot, Instrument Rated. After his retirement in 1982, he served as CCD Director, Business Manager and Lector at St. Paul's R. C. Church, Allentown. He later served as Parish Accounting Manager for the Diocese of Allentown Financial Office. He subsequently served as the Director of Parish Support Services and Director of Special Projects in the Office of the Diocesan Secretary for Temporal Affairs. He retired in 2003 from service with the Diocese of Allentown for reasons of health due to on the job related injuries.Colonel Bentz was a member of St. Paul's R.C. Church, Allentown. He was a Life Member of the Air Force Association, National Guard Association of Pennsylvania, 148th Fighter Squadron Association, American Legion Post 406, Fountain Hill; Lower Milford Fire Company,Limeport;East End Hose and Chemical Co., Catasauqua;Ridge and Valley Rod and Gun Club, Coopersburg, and the Upper Saucon Social Quarters, Center Valley. Additionally he was an Associate member of the 454 and 485 Bombardment Group associations, the Joseph J. Haggerty FOP Lodge 40 Dublin and the Association of Old Crows. Survivors: He is survived by his wife; daughter, Beryl E. Bentz, Center Valley;nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by brothers, Willard K. Bentz, Thoburn M. Bentz, Orville T. (Dick) Bentz, Glennwood P. Bentz, Edward K. Bentz; sisters, Dorothy A. Shiner, Carolyn S. J. Hughes, and Carolyn Hughes. Services: 10:00 am Wednesday, August 27th, 2014, in the K.V.Knopp Funeral Home, 46 E. Susquehanna St.,Allentown, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30am in St. Paul's Catholic Church, Allentown. Family and friends may call Wednesday 9:00 am until time of services. Interment with full military honors to follow in Calvary Cemetery, Limeport. Contributions: .
Published in Morning Call on Aug. 23, 2014
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