Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Army 1st Lt. Benjamin J. Hall

Remember Our Heroes

Army 1st Lt. Benjamin J. Hall, 24, of Virginia

Lt. Hall was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy; died July 31, 2007 in Asadabad, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit during combat operations in Chowkay Valley, Afghanistan.


When 1st Lt. Benjamin Hall graduated from Ranger school, he looked at himself in uniform in the mirror and said to his dad, "This was 13 years in the making."

His father, John Hall, a retired Army colonel and Fredericksburg resident, had told his son that Rangers were the Army elite, and he heeded his father's words.

Benjamin Hall, 24, died from combat wounds Tuesday in Chowkay Valley, Afghanistan.

He was the platoon leader of Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, which is based in Vicenza, Italy.

Hall had been in Afghanistan only 70 days. As he was on his way there in May, he sent text messages to his mother, Sarah.

"Wheels up."


While he was in Afghanistan, Hall e-mailed four times and his dad saved all of them. He also called home a few times.

"But he never let on how bad it was," his father said. The soldier told his parents everything was peaceful, "when in fact they were in combat almost every day," John Hall said.

The second of four children, Hall ran cross country at Hylton High School in Woodbridge and majored in political science at Michigan Technological University. He was top of his cadet class in ROTC and was commissioned in 2005. Last fall, he was promoted to first lieutenant.

"Everything he knew was the military," John Hall said. "His mother told him to be anything other than a soldier he said he wanted to serve his country."

The military is in the Halls' blood. John Hall is a retired Army colonel. Both of Hall's grandfathers served in World War II; his great-grandfather in World War I; and his great-great-grandfather was a Union soldier in the Civil War.

Hall was a family man, his father said. His 10-year-old brother, Joe, was one of his best buddies.

"He never once worried about not being cool," John Hall said. "He was always picking [Joe] up, kissing him. He was his."

Hall had been stationed in Italy since April 2006. When he and his buddies had time off, they explored Italy and other nearby countries. Last year, he ran with the bulls in Spain.

Hall never lived in Fredericksburg, but he spent six weeks here with his parents before training at Fort Benning, Ga., and came to town on leave.

Last year, he painted the house of the woman who lived across the street. John Hall said his son had many friends here.

"He was just a beautiful young man I'm so proud of him. We all are," John Hall said. "We're going to miss him."

Army 1st Lt. Benjamin J. Hall was killed in action on 7/31/07.

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