World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II as 1st Lieutenant and Executive Officer for the Second Battalion Shore Party, Eighth Marines, Second Marine Division. He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery during the assault against enemy Japanese-held Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands, from November 20 to 22, 1943. His citation reads "Acting on his own initiative when assault troops were pinned down at the far end of Betio Pier by the overwhelming fire of Japanese shore batteries, First Lieutenant Bonnyman repeatedly defied the blasting fury of the enemy bombardment to organize and lead the besieged men over the long, open pier to the beach and then, voluntarily obtaining flame throwers and demolitions, organized his pioneer shore party into assault demolitions and directed the blowing of several hostile installations before the close of D-Day. Determined to effect an opening in the enemy's strongly organized defense line the following day, he voluntarily crawled approximately forty yards forward of our lines and placed demolitions in the entrance of a large Japanese emplacement as the initial move in his planned attack against the heavily garrisoned, bombproof installation which was stubbornly resisting despite the destruction early in the action of a large number of Japanese who had been inflicting heavy casualties on our forces and holding up our advance. Withdrawing only to replenish his ammunition, he led his men in a renewed assault, fearlessly exposing himself to the merciless slash of hostile fire as he stormed the formidable bastion, directed the placement of demolition charges in both entrances and sized the top of the bombproof position, flushing more than one hundred of the enemy who were instantly cut down and effecting the annihilation of approximately one hundred and fifty troops inside the emplacement. Assailed by additional Japanese after he had gained his objective, he made a heroic stand on the edge of the structure, defending his strategic position with indomitable determination in the face of the desperate charge and killing three of the enemy before he fell, mortally wounded. By his dauntless fighting spirit, unrelenting aggressiveness and forceful leadership throughout three days of unremitting, violent battle, First Lieutenant Bonnyman had inspired his men to heroic, effort, enabling them to beat off the counterattack and break the back of hostile resistance in the sector for an immediate gain of four hundred yards with no further casualties to our forces in this zone. He gallantly gave his life for his country". His Medal was posthumously presented to his teen-aged daughter by Secretary of the Navy James F. Forrestal, at the Navy Department in Washington, DC, on January 22, 1947. Originally reported to have been buried at sea, his remains were found in March 2015 on Tarawa along with 36 other Marines who were interred in a hastily dug battlefield cemetery, the location of which was subsequently lost. They were repatriated back to the United States, and interred with full military honors in the Bonnyman family plot in Highland Memorial Gardens in his native Knoxville, Tennessee. His name is inscribe on the Wall of the Missing in the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii, and a cenotaph for him exist in the Santa Fe National Cemetery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.