U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 630-09
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Gunnery Sergeant Adam F. Benjamin, 34, of Garfield Heights, Ohio, died August 18, 2009, while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 8th Engineer Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
NOTE: Adam F. Benjamin was posthumously promoted to Master Sergeant.
A love of service, the ultimate sacrifice: Man with Portage ties killed in Afghanistan
By Diane Smith
Courtesy of the Record-Courier staff writer
Even at a young age, Adam Benjamin knew he wanted to be a Marine.
More than 14 years after joining the Marines, the Ohio native with local ties summed up his love of his job in his MySpace profile.
“I have been a United States Marine for over 14 years,” he wrote. “Most people don’t understand why we do what we do. I love my job. Yes, I said I love my job. How many of you can say that you are right where you want to be at this point in your life? I know I can.”
Master Sergeant Adam Benjamin of Garfield Heights died Aug. 18 “as a result of hostile action” while serving in Afghanistan. Next week, he will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.
His father, Frank Benjamin of Mantua, said his son knew as a young man that he wanted to join the Marines, and signed up in July 1993, right after graduation from Garfield Heights High School. In 2006, he was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant.
He was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician, and his job of disposing of ordinances led him to two previous tours of duty in recent years to Iraq. He was deployed to Afghanistan in July.
The Master Gunnery Sergeant was stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and won several awards, his father said. He was four years away from retirement. His awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals as well as various other personal and unit decorations.
He was killed while conducting combat in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.
Frank Benjamin said he had a chance to talk to his son’s Colonel, who could not find enough good things to say about his son.
“He was a model soldier,” he said. “I admired him as a man. He was just filled with courage and honor.”
He said his son never married because he thought it was unfair to subject a wife to the life of a Marine who was always on the move. However, he found plenty of time to come home and visit with his father, his mother, Judy Watters of Garfield Heights, and his 11 siblings, many of whom live in the Portage County area.
About 150 mourners packed the Golubski Deliberato Funeral Home in Garfield Heights last week to pay tribute to the fallen soldier. He reportedly will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Adam Benjamin's fascination with guns started about 30 years ago with a dart gun given to him by his uncle.
Benjamin, then a preschooler, promptly plunked his Uncle Mark in the head with a dart. Mark Benjamin had a feeling then that his nephew was destined to be Marine.
“It was going on from there,” Mark Benjamin said Saturday, chuckling, as he spoke to about 150 mourners who packed the Golubski Deliberato Funeral Home in Garfield Heights.
Holding onto the American flags after being presented the flags are the parents of Master Sergeant Adam Benjamin, Adam's mom Judy Watters and Adam's father Frank Benjamin, at the Golubski Deliberato Funeral Home.Marine Master Sgt. Adam Benjamin, who died in combat in Afghanistan at the age of 34, developed a passion for shooting at an early age. His weaponry progressed from the toy guns of his childhood to firearms used to wage war.
He was on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan when he was killed. He also fought in Iraq in 2007 and 2008. A month ago, he returned to combat in Afghanistan. On August 18, 2009, he was killed in action in the Helmand province.
During one visit home, Mark Benjamin asked his nephew if he feared combat.
“Uncle Mark, it's my job,” he said.
Adam Benjamin devoted his life to Garfield Heights, the state of Ohio and the United States of America, Mark Benjamin said.
“He gave his life for our freedom,” he added, fighting back tears. “He died a hero. We love him. We'll miss him.”
Adam Benjamin enlisted in the Marines after graduating from Garfield Heights High School in 1993. He was an explosives ordnance disposal technician stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
A bachelor, Adam Benjamin earned several awards, including commendation medals and achievement medals from both the Navy and Marine Corps.
But he never forgot his family and home. He always made sure he visited family members, including his 10 siblings, when he returned on leave. He never outgrew his playfulness either, his uncle said.
“He would always hide in the house and ambush them,” Mark Benjamin said. “He was a big kid.”
On his visits he always wanted to have dinner with his mother, Judy Watters, and “held her close to his heart,” Mark Benjamin said.
After the funeral, throngs lined Turney Road carrying flags and homemade signs. Most had never met Benjamin. Many veterans stood at attention. Some drove motorcycles; some wore black leather vests emblazoned with the message: “All gave some, some gave all.”
His family and other mourners gathered near the casket and remained silent. A Marine honor guard brought Benjamin's flag-draped casket outside. The sun's reflection glistened from the shiny pins and medals on their uniforms, including the eagle, globe and anchor insignia — the symbol of the Marine Corps.
Three Marines crisply folded the American flag covering the casket 13 times. They presented flags to Benjamin's mother, father and brother. Tears flowed. Hugs followed.
There will be more sorrow. Benjamin will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery–the final resting place for thousands of fallen Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen.
Six Marines slid Benjamin's casket into a black hearse as the “Marines' Hymn” wailed from a Cleveland policeman's' bagpipes.
More than 30 United States flags flapped in the wind as a Marine played “Taps.” Mourners were warned to cover their ears for the rifle salute that followed.
Seven Marines fired three shots each from their guns.
Marsha Gorman did not know Adam Benjamin, the 34-year-old U.S. Marine gunnery sergeant from Garfield Heights killed in combat in Afghanistan last week.
But the Garfield Heights mother went Tuesday to watch the procession as the body of the U.S. Marine was taken from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to a local funeral home to send a message to his family.
“I wanted his parents to see there are people who care for what Adam has done, people who know freedom is not free,” she said.
The procession — two police motorcycles, five police cars, six men on motorcycles, the hearse, two limousines and carloads of family and friends — rolled slowly down East 115th Street, where the Benjamin family lives.
Spent paper sack luminaries lined the street from a memorial over the weekend. Flags in front of two homes hung at half-staff.
The Benjamin family's home stood as a testament to pride in their son's service — more than a dozen U.S. flags of varying sizes were posted in the lawn and on the porch along with two Marine Corp flags.
Benjamin enlisted in the Marines after graduating from Garfield Heights High School in 1993. In 2006, he was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant.
The explosive ordnance disposal technician with the 8th Engineer Support Battalion did tours in Iraq in 2007 and 2008. He was pinned with medals for his service.
A month ago, he returned to combat, this time in Afghanistan. On August 18, 2009, he was killed in combat in the Helmand province.
Benjamin's procession turned onto Turney Road, where Gorman stood beside a sign outside Bonkers Caf that read, “RIP Adam Benjamin, True American Hero.”
Gorman wiped tears on her shirt as the hearse passed beneath a large U.S. flag held aloft by the extended ladders of two fire trucks.
After the procession passed by, she hugged her son, Dan, who graduated high school with Benjamin.
“His death is not going to go unnoticed,” she said. “He laid down his life for us.”
In Military Service, Marine ‘Had Found His Calling'
Athlete, Hunter Was Devoted to Family
Courtesy of The Washington Post
Master Sergeant Adam F. Benjamin was buried Thursday with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery, where more than 200 relatives, friends and service members recalled him as a humble, down-to-earth man and a devoted Marine.
“He had found his calling,” said Mark Russo, who met Benjamin in elementary school in Garfield Heights, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. “He loved what he was doing.”
Benjamin, 34, was killed August 18, 2009, in Afghanistan in the course of supporting combat operations in Helmand province, where he had been deployed in July. He had also been deployed twice to Iraq, in 2007 and last year, and had received the Navy and Marine Corps commendation and achievement medals.
Under blustery skies, the “President's Own” United States Marine Band led a procession to his grave site that included a horse-drawn carriage bearing his remains. Seven Marines fired three shots each.
Benjamin was an athlete who grew up riding in-line skates, playing soccer and riding BMX bikes, and he was a hunter fascinated by guns, ammunition and explosions. He enlisted in the Marines immediately after graduating from high school and became a bomb disposal technician.
“Adam was always the guy who was trying to blow something up,” said Russo, 34, who graduated with Benjamin in 1993 from Garfield Heights High School. “He always had a lighter in his pocket, always had firecrackers. He was known for that.”
Benjamin served for 16 years. He never married and did not have children.
“I love my job,” he wrote on his MySpace page. “How many of you can say that you are right where you want to be at this point in your life? I know I can.”
Russo said Benjamin, based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and assigned to the 8th Engineer Support Battalion, made a point to spend time with friends and family, including his mother, Judy Watters, and father, Frank Benjamin, each of whom was presented with a folded American flag at the cemetery Thursday.
The Marine's uncle Mark Benjamin told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that his nephew had 10 siblings and played with them when he was home.
“He would always hide in the house and ambush them,” he told the Plain Dealer. “He was a big kid.”
Last month, a motorcade bearing Benjamin's body made its way through the streets of Garfield Heights, where family members and friends celebrated Benjamin's life at a standing-room-only funeral. Russo, a middle school music teacher, played taps. “It is the least I could do for one of my good friends,” he said.
Friends and family members follow the caisson as the remains of Master Sergeant.
Adam F. Benjamin are taken to his gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery
A caisson carries the ashes of U.S. Marine Master Sergeant Adam F. Benjamin during
a burial service at Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, September 10, 2009.
A Marine Corps Honor Guard carries the ashes of U.S. Marine Master Sergeant Adam F Benjamin during
a burial service at Arlington National Cemetery, Thursday, September 10, 2009
The family of U.S. Marine Master Sergeant Adam F Benjamin looks on as a Marine Honor Guard carries his
ashes during a burial service at Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, September 10, 2009
U.S. Marine Master Sergeant Adam F. Benjamin is laid to rest during a burial service at Arlington National
Cemetery Thursday, September 10, 2009
U.S. Marine Master Sergeant Adam F. Benjamin is laid to rest during a burial service at
Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, September10, 2009.
The ashes of U.S. Marine Corps Master Sergeant Adam F Benjamin are laid to rest during a burial service
at Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, September 10, 2009
U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Major Sylvester D. Daniels, right, kneels as he presents the American flag to
Judith J. Watters, left, mother of U.S. Marine Corps Master Sergeant Adam F Benjamin during a burial
service at Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, September 10, 2009
A Naval Chaplain kneels to talk with Judith J. Watters, left, mother of U.S. Marine Corps Master Sergeant Adam F Benjamin
during a burial service at Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, September 10, 2009
BENJAMIN, ADAM FRANK
MSGT US MARINE CORPS
DATE OF BIRTH: 01/08/1975
DATE OF DEATH: 08/18/2009
BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8937
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard