Thursday, May 12, 2011

Marine Lt. Col. Benjamin J. Palmer

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lt. Col. Benjamin J. Palmer, 43, of Modesto, Calif.

Lt. Col. Palmer was assigned to Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Cherry Point, N.C. died May 12, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations. Also killed was Sgt. Kevin Balduf.

Lt Col Palmer, a 1986 graduate of Downey High School in Modesto, Calif., played soprano bugle in high school and after his graduation.

Lt Col Palmer's mother, Linda, said her son wanted to enlist in the Marine Corps right after high school so he could play in the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, but decided to finish college first.

Linda, said of her son, “He had a strong sense of duty and of helping others. Always taking care of his Marines and his family, too. We are going to miss him like crazy.”

She said her son had previously served three tours in Iraq and had deployed to Afghanistan about three weeks ago.

He had previously served as the commanding officer of 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion at Cherry Point. Palmer relinquished command of 2nd LAAD on Dec. 16 prior to his deployment to Afghanistan.

At the ceremony, Palmer gave credit to those under his command. “All the time I’ve been here, I’ve focused on one thing, and that’s making this battalion the best,” he said. “It’s not me; it’s what they’ve done. I just set the stage to allow them to be successful and they’ve done that.”

Lt Col Palmer’s military awards and decorations include:

Defense meritorious service medal
Meritorious service medal with gold star
Joint service commendation medal
Korean defense service medal
Navy and Marine Corps commendation medal with two gold stars

Lt Col Palmer is survived by his wife, Leafa; children Katie, Jack and Jenna; mother, Linda; son A.J.; and brother, Joseph. Palmer’s father, Richard, a Modesto, Calif., attorney, died in 1999.

Marine Lt. Col. Benjamin J. Palmer was killed in action on 5/12/11.

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