Thursday, July 21, 2011

Army Master Sgt. Benjamin Stevenson

Remember Our Heroes

Army Master Sgt. Benjamin Stevenson, 36, of Canyon Lake, Texas

MSgt Stevenson was assigned to U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died July 21, 2011 in Paktika province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small-arms fire.

MSgt Stevenson was part of a U.S. and Afghan special operations mission that went in to attack the area in Afghanistan's Paktika province.

The camp they attacked and the fighters there were part of the so-called Haqqanni network, which is responsible for many recent attacks in Afghanistan and is closely tied to al Qaeda. The Haqqanis traditionally rely on Afghan and Pakistani fighters. In this instance, most of the fighters there who were killed, were Arabs and Chechens, brought into Afghanistan from Pakistan.

"This is how they are expanding their capabilities," an undisclosed official said. The U.S. believes this camp was an assembly and training point for these foreign fighters to stage attacks across Afghanistan.

During the two-day firefight against the camp, the U.S. troops found several caves and fortified bunkers. Airstrikes were called in using missile-equipped helicopters, fighter jets dropping precision weapons and unmanned drones. Coalition forces were led to the camp by former insurgents. It's not clear if the extent of the opposition was immediately clear to the coalition.

MSgt Stevenson was the only fatality. This was his 10th deployment.

MSgt Stevenson graduated from Smithson Valley High School in 1993. He enlisted in the Army as an infantryman in June that year.

MSgt Stevenson first served with the 325th Infantry Battalion at Fort Bragg as a gunner firing anti-tank missiles and a squad leader. He then went on to become an aircraft power plant repairman with the 601st Aviation Support Battalion at Katterbach, Germany.

He completed Special Forces training in January 2000. As part of his training, MSgt Stevenson was educated in jungle and mountain warfare, the Russian language, air assault, and free fall. He was assigned to 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Campbell, Ky., where he served as a weapons and intelligence sergeant. He deployed with the unit three times to Iraq and once to Afghanistan

In May 2006, MSgt Stevenson was assigned as a special operations team member with Special Operations Command, where he deployed to Iraq four more times and twice more to Afghanistan.

MSgt Stevenson was transfered to become a part of a special operations team in May of 2006, and was deployed to Iraq four more times and twice more to Afghanistan.

MSgt Stevenson's awards and decorations include:

Bronze Star (5)
Purple Heart
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor
Army Commendation Medal with Valor
Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal
Presidential Unit citation
Joint Meritorious Unit award
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Kosovo Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three campaign stars
Iraq Campaign Medal with six campaign stars
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal with Bronze Arrowhead
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Stevenson was posthumously awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Purple Heart.

MSgt Stevenson is interred at Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery, Spring Lake, NC.

MSgt Stevenson is survived by his mother, Laura; wife, Heather and two young sons.

Army Master Sgt. Benjamin Stevenson was killed in action on 7/21/11.

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