PDA

View Full Version : Garfield Heights saddened to hear of death of Marine Sgt. Adam Benjamin in Afghanista



thedrifter
08-21-09, 08:06 AM
Garfield Heights saddened to hear of death of Marine Sgt. Adam Benjamin in Afghanistan
Posted by Margaret Bernstein, The Plain Dealer August 21, 2009 06:25AM

Garfield Heights, which bid goodbye to a fallen soldier in May, has another native son to mourn.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Adam F. Benjamin, a 1993 graduate of Garfield Heights High School, died Tuesday in combat, military officials said. The 34-year-old career Marine had arrived in Afghanistan only a month ago to serve in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Just four months ago, hundreds lined Garfield Heights' streets to pay respects to Army Spc. Brad Davis, a 21-year-old soldier killed in Iraq. He too had attended Garfield Heights High.

It's a big blow for a small community, said Garfield Heights School District spokeswoman Melissa Thompson.

She said the district will begin the school year Monday with a moment of silence for Benjamin. "The city of Garfield Heights reaches out to support one another during difficult times. This situation with this family will be no different," Thompson said.

Word of Benjamin's death spread quickly across the community where he lived as a boy with his mother and stepfather, Judy and Robert Watters.

Classmates described him as a dedicated Marine.

"Even when we were kids in grade school, he had the passion," said Mark Russo of Garfield Heights, a close friend. "He wanted to be a Marine. Everyone went off to college, and he went to boot camp."

The U.S. military has reported that Benjamin died as a result of a hostile incident while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

He was an explosives ordnance disposal technician assigned to the 8th Engineer Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

He joined the Marines right after graduating from high school. He was promoted to the rank of gunnery sergeant in January 2006.

Benjamin, who was single, was deployed twice to Iraq, from February to October 2007 and again from February to September 2008, according to a Marine spokesman. He received several awards, including commendation medals and achievement medals from both the Navy and Marine Corps.

Benjamin stayed in touch with hometown friends through Facebook and occasional visits to Cleveland.

Benjamin had no regrets about the life he chose. "I envied the fact that he was very dedicated to what he did," said Russo.

Funeral plans for the local Marine haven't yet been released.

Russo, a jazz trumpeter, said that he has offered to play taps in honor of his longtime friend and that Benjamin's parents have accepted.

"I'd be honored to do that for him," Russo said.

Ellie