Saturday, August 06, 2011

Navy Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson

Remember Our Heroes

Navy Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson, 28, of Angwin, Calif.

Navy Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Benson was assigned to an East Coast-based SEAL team; died Aug. 6, 2011in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter in which he was riding was shot down.

Sixteen other SEALS, five Navy Special Operations troops supporting them, five Army air crew members, three Air Force airmen, seven Afghan soldiers, a civilian interpreter, and a military working dog were also killed on the Chinook. They were flying to assist a unit of the 75th Ranger Regiment that was pinned down by enemy fire.

Petty Officer Benson attended the Pacific Union College Preparatory High School his freshman year and graduated from St. Helena High School in 2001. He enlisted in the Navy in September 2001.

Mother, Beverly Nieman Mills. said her son had decided to be a SEAL since 8th grade. He enlisted at the age of 17. “He was so excited to join” said Mills, recalling the day Benson asked her to sign his enlistment papers because he was too young to join on his own. “The SEALS really did become his family,” she said. “I’m grateful to the Navy for giving him the passionate family he could trust. I’m grateful he could have completed such an intense life. He lived so fully in those 28 years.”

Benson graduated from SEAL training in 2003. He met his fiancée, Kara, in San Diego. They planned on marrying upon his return from his deployment in September. He had recently earned his commercial pilot’s license and was considering a career as a pilot after his military service ended. He was serving his fourth tour of duty.
Linda Hansel, who taught Benson in 8th grade, remembered him as bright, outgoing and just a touch mischievous.

August 26, 2011
Darrik I know your in Heaven today watching over all of us and especially your friends. You will be missed but never forgotten. Your time on earth was cut way to short but your time on earth was well spent for eternity. We will miss YOU...! Your friend always...! Johnny P, Hammond, Louisiana

August 21,2011
I'm upset. You promised me you would be safe. Not a day passes by when I do not think of you. It has been 2 weeks and one day, yet it feel like just yesterday when I just heard the news. Each day gets harder. I can't even imagine what your family is going through. I keep them in my thoughts daily especially Landon. Forever will you and your teammates be in my heart. I miss you.~ Melissa L., Scottsdale, Arizona

August 11, 2011
I will always remember you with a huge smile on your face. I will remember the fun we had playing flag football in Mr. Wolf's weight training class. Most of all, I will never forget the pride you took in defending your country, your family, and friends. Rest in peace my brother. You will never be forgotten~Juan R. Z.

Petty Officer Benson's awards and decorations include:
Bronze Star Medal with "V" device for valor
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2), one with "V" device for valor
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
Presidential Unit Citation
Good conduct Medal
National Defense Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign medal
Rifleman Marksmanship Medal
Pistol Marksmanship Medal

A family spokesperson said that the family is “devastated” and has asked “everyone to respect their privacy.”

Petty Officer Benson is survived by his mother Beverly; father, Fred; fiancée, Kara, his 2 year old son, Landon; his grandparents, Carl and Claudia Benson.

Navy Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson was killed in action on 8/6/11.

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