Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Army Sgt. Benjamin B. Portell

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Benjamin B. Portell, 27, of Bakersfield, Calif.

Sgt. Portell was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, III Corps, Fort Hood, Texas; died Dec. 26, 2007 in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds sustained from small-arms fire during dismounted combat operations. Also killed was Capt. Rowdy J. Inman.

Bakersfield soldier dies in Iraq on second term of duty
The Associated Press

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A soldier from Bakersfield who was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq was killed in Mosul when his Army platoon was ambushed.

The Department of Defense says 27-year-old Sgt. Benjamin Portell died Dec. 26 from wounds suffered from small-arms fire.

Portell’s pastor Brian Murphy says the soldier had just gotten married this year and was a devoted member of the Riverlakes Community Church.

Murphy says Portell’s older brother, Mike, is currently deployed in Iraq and a younger brother, Jeff, served a term there as well.

Benjamin Portell was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, III Corps, in Fort Hood, Texas.

Bakersfield Californian — A 27-year-old soldier from Bakersfield died Wednesday when his Army platoon was ambushed in Iraq, according to the soldier's pastor.

Sgt. Benjamin Portell was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq, according to Brian Murphy, executive pastor of Riverlakes Community Church.

"Ben was a great guy," Murphy said. "He just got married seven months ago. It's horrible."

Portell and Capt. Rowdy J. Inman were killed in the ambush and four were injured, according to Murphy. The pastor didn't know what unit Portell served in.

Major Anne Edgecomb, spokeswoman for the U.S. Army, could not confirm Portell's death. She said multiple casualties could delay release of the soldiers' names because the Army only announces the names 24 hours after next of kin for all the involved soldiers are contacted.

In 2005, Portell was deployed to Iraq as a member of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. Portell graduated from basic combat military training in 2003.

Portell's older brother, Mike Portell, is a soldier in the Army and is currently in Iraq, Murphy said. Portell's younger brother, Jeff Portell, used to be in the Army and served a tour in Iraq, Murphy said.

Murphy said the family is having a difficult time with their loved one's death.

"The parents can't talk right now," Murphy said.

Portell grew up in Bakersfield and graduated from Stockdale High School.

Kris Pelster, who played high school football with Portell, said he was an honest and trustworthy guy.

"He was a good guy to know and a solid addition to the football team," Pelster said.

Portell spent a lot of time helping out at the Riverlakes Community Church, including taking part in mission trips to Mexico.

"He had such a tender heart," Murphy said. "He was a real servant."

Portell married his wife, Michelle, over the summer, according to Murphy. She lives in New York.

Funeral services are tentatively planned to be held in Bakersfield.

Army Sgt. Benjamin B. Portell was killed in action on 12/26/07.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for creating and maintaining this page. Knowing that others recognize the loss of my husband, and every honorable serviceman who has given their life for our freedom helps to heal my soul. They were not just soldiers they were beloved husbands, sons, brothers, uncles and friends. Let us always share their stories and never forget the sacrifice of our men and their families

Michelle Portell
Widow of SGT Benjamin Portell