NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 953-07 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
First Lieutenant Benjamin J. Hall, 24, of Virginia, died July 31 in Asadabad, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit during combat operations in Chowkay Valley, Afghanistan.He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy.
At the age of 10, Benjamin J. Hall began preparing for the journey that several generations of men in his family took.
On Tuesday, that journey was cut short.
Hall, 24 and a First Lieutenant in the Army, was killed during an ambush in Afghanistan, according to family members and the Department of Defense.
The graduate of C.D. Hylton High School died of gunshot wounds during a battle in Chowkay Valley, according to a DoD news release.
His father, a retired Army Colonel, said his son, for unknown reasons, walked into the open and was shot through the upper right chest area – a “devastating” wound that Hall's father said likely killed his son instantly.
“He was an amazing young man,” John Hall said in a telephone interview Thursday morning.
More than a year ago, Hall graduated from Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
His father and mother, Sarah, were there to pin the Ranger tab on their oldest son.
“He looked in the mirror and said: ‘This is 13 years in the making,'” his father recalled.
As an Army brat, he made many places his home, including Woodbridge.
The Hall family first moved here in 1991, left two years later and came back twice – once in 1996 and again in 2000. In 2003 the family moved to Fredericksburg, where they still live.
Graduating from high school in 2001, the tall, blond-haired and blue-eyed Hall left to attend Michigan Technological University, where he earned a degree in political science in 2005.
Six weeks after graduation Hall was at Fort Benning, his father said.
Before being deployed to Afghanistan in May, Hall came home from Italy, where he was based, to surprise his older sister at her wedding. After that, he called several times, his father said, but mostly e-mailed.
In those e-mails, though, he never once mentioned the gunfights he saw or the losses his unit sustained.
It wasn't until John Hall spoke with his son's battalion commander Wednesday evening that he learned that the unit had been engaged in combat on a daily basis and that it was only within hours of landing in Afghanistan that the unit suffered its first casualty.
“I knew it in the bottom of my heart,” he said. “But when you're confronted with the facts, you realize the hell your son went through.”
Hall, described as funny and outgoing, but never boastful, always handled chaos well, his father said.
“He was a dynamic young man,” John Hall said. “He was so adept at [handling tense situations]… he was a giver.”
“All of our kids are fantastic,” he added as his voice trailed off. “He remains fantastic.”
Hall was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team based in Vicenza, Italy.
He is survived by his parents, two sisters, Katherine and Melissa, and a brother, Joe. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
First Lieutenant Benjamin John Hall was a mentor to the Michigan Tech University U.S. Air Force ROTC cadets who were under him and they remember him fondly after his death in Afghanistan.
The 2005 Tech graduate died July 31, 2007, from enemy fire in Chowkay Valley, close to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, said Lieuenant Colonel Dallas Eubanks, professor of military science at Tech and Reserve Officer Training Corps commander.
He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in Vicenza, Italy, the Washington Post reported Friday.
“I remember him as being committed to his service,” Second Lieuetnant Philip Ribeiro said. “He was always very dedicated to ROTC and serving his country.”
Hall majored in social science with a concentration in political science at Tech. He was also part of the ROTC program.
Professors and MTU cadets remembered Hall as being “a solid foundation like a rock that everyone could depend on,” Ribeiro said. “It’s too bad. It’s so hard to believe he’s gone.”
Hall has been submitted for a Bronze Star, which is the fourth highest medal for valor in combat, Eubanks said. He is the first cadet from Tech, Army or Air Force, killed in the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, he said.
Hall was “always focused on going into the military and a military career,” MTU history professor Terry Reynolds said. “He was trying to get a well-rounded education as part of the background of becoming an officer.”
Hall was a Cadet Battalion Commander at Tech, where he spent his college years shaping and mentoring cadets in the ROTC program.
“His knowledge of military doctrine was unbelievable,” Completion Cadet Bobby Putnam said. “He was the type of person to go out of his way to help the other cadets.”
Hall’s father, John Hall, attended Tech and was a Cadet Battalion Commander in the 1970s, Eubanks said. He also went to ranger school, like his father, and followed in his footsteps, Eubanks said. Ben and John may have been the only father-son team to graduate as ROTC cadet commission, he said.
“I don’t think anyone can say they didn’t learn a whole lot from him,” Putnam said.
Eubanks said Hall was the reason so many cadets stayed in the program.
“He was basically a mentor to me when I was a freshman and sophomore,” Completion Cadet Casey Luskin said. “You could go to him day or night to talk with him and he’d take the time to respond to you.”
Tech remembered Hall with a moment of silence during a Board of Control meeting, Eubanks said. Hall’s body has returned to the States and he will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, he said.
Hall made a difference in the lives of others and was doing what he wanted to do.
“He was definitely born to be in the Army,” Putnam said. “He loved it.”
Benjamin J. Hall
U.S. Army First Lieutenant Benjamin John Hall, 24, son of retired Colonel John W. Hall and Sarah E. Hall of Fredericksburg, Virginia, died Tuesday, July 31, 2007, in Afghanistan.
A funeral will be held in Arlington National Cemetery on Friday, August 10, 2007, at 10 a.m. Those attending are requested to gather at the cemetery at 9 a.m.
A reception will immediately follow at Fort Myer Officers' Club. Both the funeral and reception are open to the public.
A procession will leave from James Monroe High School parking lot at 7 a.m. Those wishing to participate should be in the parking lot at 6:30 a.m.
Expressions of sympathy may be made in the form of checks payable to “First Lieutnant Benjamin J. Hall Memorial Fund,” c/o John and Sarah Hall, 1203 Prince Edward St., Fredericksburg, Va. 22401.
Fallen Vicenza lieutenant carried on family legacy
VICENZA, Italy — Name a major conflict involving the U.S. military during the past 150 years and a member of the Hall family likely was in it.
The Civil War. World War I. World War II.
First Lieutnant Benjamin Hall’s ancestors participated in each of those conflicts — and more.
Hall, who represented the fifth straight generation of his family to wear a military uniform, was no different. He earned his commission in 2005 and was serving in Afghanistan as a platoon leader with the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment when he was killed July 31, 2007.
He died of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by insurgents in the Chowkay Valley, according to a Department of Defense news release.
“When the moment of truth came, he was found out in the front, exposed and leading his men,” Lieutenant Colonel Todd Johnston, rear detachment commander for the 173rd Airborne Brigade, said during a memorial service Monday at Caserma Ederle.
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Steven Horning said that’s where Hall wanted to be.
“Since he was 10 years old, he wanted to be an Army Ranger,” Horning said.
Hall, nominated for a Bronze Star for his actions on the day of his death, grew up a military brat. His father, retired Colonel John Hall, served in numerous locations around the globe.
Captain Matthew Heimerle said Hall graduated from Michigan Technological University at the top of his ROTC class and among the top 5 percent of the ROTC students in the country.
Less than a year later, he was stationed in Vicenza and assigned leader for the battalion’s 2nd Platoon in the newly formed Company D.
It was a highly sought position, Heimerle said, admitting that he resented Hall getting it.
But he said Hall’s conduct in Vicenza — including an impressive effort in a battalion-wide conditioning drill for officers — won him over.
“Ben definitely earned his platoon that day,” Heimerle said.
He said he later learned that he had attended a university in the same city in Virginia that Hall’s family had moved to. So they had fun comparing night spots.
“I will definitely make sure that, when I do make it back there, I will enjoy myself enough for the both of us,” he said.
Horning noted that Hall achieved Eagle Scout status and his actions exemplified many of the traits that Boy Scouts are told to live up to.
Apart from his father, Hall is survived by his mother, Sarah; two sisters, Melissa and Katherine; and a brother, Joseph.
Hall, the 10th soldier based in Vicenza and 12th from the brigade to die in the unit’s three months in Afghanistan, was buried Friday at Arlington National Cemetery.
Members of a U.S. Army honor guard carry the casket of Army First Lieutenant Benjamin Hall
during a burial service at Arlington National Cemetery August 10, 2007
Members of a U.S. Army honor guard hold the casket of Army First Lieutenant Benjamin Hall
during a burial service at Arlington National Cemetery August 10, 2007
The body of First Lieutenant Benjamin Hall is set down during funeral services at Arlington National
Cemetery Friday, Aug. 10. 2007
A bagpiper plays during a burial service for U.S. Army First Lieutenant Benjamin Hall
at Arlington National Cemetery August 10, 2007.
Army Lieuetnant General Stephen Speakes presents a U.S. flag to to the family of U.S. Army
First Lieutenant Benjamin Hall during a burial service for Hall at Arlington National Cemetery August 10, 2007
HALL, BENJAMIN J
1LT US ARMY
DATE OF BIRTH: 12/28/1982
DATE OF DEATH: 07/31/2007
BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8648
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