Benjamin C Edinger

Benjamin C Edinger

At 6-feet-4 and in tiptop shape, Benjamin Edinger had the imposing look of a true Marine. Those who knew him best, though, talk about his softer side. “He was absolutely sweet. You use the term gentle giant and that absolutely described Ben,” his uncle James Downey said. Edinger, 24, of Green Bay, Wis., died Nov. 25 of wounds sustained in a Nov. 14 attack. He was based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Edinger graduated from high school in 1999 and attended the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for a year but “felt he was wasting the money” because he was unsure what he wanted to do, his grandmother Barbara Downey said. While in the service, he decided to study to become a veterinarian. He planned to enroll at the University of Wisconsin next fall and hoped to be a walk-on football player. “That was the last e-mail I got from him, indicated that he wanted to go to Wisconsin and play football,” his uncle said. He is survived by his father, Mont Edinger, and his mother and step-father, Rose and Randy Scannell.

Sgt. Benjamin C. Edinger
Died: November 23, 2004

24, of Green Bay, Wis.; assigned to 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Nov. 23 at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., of injuries sustained Nov. 14 from enemy action in Anbar province, Iraq.

Although a computer technician by trade, Sergeant Edinger was recruited to come to 2d platoon as a radio operator after his noteworthy service with 2d Force Reconnaissance Company, Task Force Tarawa during Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He immediately made an impact on his team by mastering the difficult communication systems required of his job and applying this mastery during a shortened unit training phase and MEU Pre-Deployment Training Phase.  His mastery of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force SIDS (MSIDS) data system allowed his team to provide Reconnaissance and Surveillance to 2d Bn, 5th Special Forces Group during their pre-deployment training for OIF II, thus marking a new relationship between these two units.

Upon deployment to Iraq for OIF II, Sergeant Edinger was designated a heavy machine gunner for his team due to the expertise he displayed on the weapon system during pre-deployment training.  In 11 engagements with the enemy, Sergeant Edinger demonstrated his acumen with the machine gun by providing accurate, suppressive fires when warranted.  His personal discipline was on display most in this capacity, as he never failed to cover his sectors of fire and provide security for his team.  During a combined direct action raid with Hillah SWAT in the town of Lutafiyah, Northern Babil province, on 11 October, Sergeant Edinger’s team was attacked with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) along Alternate Supply Route (ASR) Jackson , and then immediately engaged with small arms fire from an adjacent palm grove.  Sergeant Edinger provided accurate suppressive fires on the enemy, allowing the platoon corpsman to render medical attention to a wounded Marine, and the rest of the platoon to sweep through in the direction of the enemy.  As a result of these suppressive fires, the platoon was able to close with and destroy the trigger man and an enemy observer and thus disable the threat and exfiltrate the contact area.

During a combined direct action raid with Hillah SWAT in Haswah, Northern Babil province, Sergeant Edinger’s team was again the subject of a complex enemy attack.  While providing security for the raid force, Sergeant Edinger’s stack was attacked with an IED mixed with homemade napalm, and small arms fire from two men in a truck in the area.  Sergeant Edinger along with his team returned fire, destroying the truck and the two terrorists inside.  His immediate action, and the actions of the Marines around him, allowed the platoon to continue their raid unabated.  During the same raid, Sergeant Edinger again showed significant physical courage, when his position was probed by a white Bongo truck forced into the area by the local terrorists.  A red Opal followed the truck as it charged through Bravo Stack’s trigger lines, and gained speed even after warned. Suspecting the truck to be a Vehicle Borne IED, Sergeant Edinger and his team engaged the truck, halting it’s advance.  Due in large parts to his diligence, seven enemy detainees were captured.

On 14 November, during a mission to extract from an Observation Post (OP), Sergeant Edinger’s team was again engaged by an IED ambush.  Although mortally wounded, Sergeant Edinger continued to man his gun, fighting for air, until he was relieved of it in order to receive medical attention. Sergeant Edinger was an inspiration to those around him with his physical courage, buoyant fighting spirit, and “never quit” attitude.  He will be sorely missed by his platoon, and the Reconnaissance Brotherhood.

EYEWITNESS STATEMENTS

Above summary of action reflects eyewitness account of Capt. T.A. Douglas

The above statement is true to the best of my recollection. Sgt. Edinger was an outstanding young Marine who’s toughness and physical courage will be sorely missed. GySgt. BR Reid

Recommended Citation:

Heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy as Radio Operator and Machine Gunner, Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Special Purpose Force, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 1st Marine Division in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM II from 15 July to 14 November 2004.  During this period, Sergeant Edinger demonstrated exceptional personal courage over the course of 61 combat missions, which included 41 direct action precision raids.  He aquitted himself with coolness and clarity under fire in each engagement.  On 11 October, during a combined direct action raid with Hillah SWAT in Lutifiyah located in the Northern Babil Province , Sergeant Edinger’s team was attacked with an improvised explosive device along alternate supply route Jackson , and then immediately engaged with small arms fire from an adjacent palm grove.  He provided accurate suppressive fires on the enemy, allowing the wounded to receive medical care, and a sweep conducted which fatally wounded the triggerman and observer.  This is just one example of his overall performance throughout this period as he served as an example for seniors and subordinates to emulate from. By his zealous initiative, courageous actions and exceptional dedication to duty Sergeant Edinger reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Combat distinguishing device is authorized.

Wisconsin Marine dies of wounds received in Iraq
Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. – A Marine from Green Bay died in a Maryland hospital Tuesday from wounds suffered in Iraq, family members said.

Sgt. Benjamin Edinger, 23, suffered shrapnel wounds Nov. 14 from what the military calls an improvised explosive device, his grandfather, Gerald Downey of Green Bay, told The Green Bay News-Chronicle.

Edinger, a 1999 graduate of Green Bay West High School, had been taken to the Bethesda Naval Hospital and was recently taken out of intensive care, but he suddenly took a turn for the worse, Downey said.

Edinger’s grandmother, Barbara Downey, described him as “a really nice kid.”

She said Edinger joined the Marine Corps after being unsure what to do after graduating from high school.

“He spent a year in college and said he felt he was wasting the money,” she said.

She said he later decided that after his military service he would study to be a veterinarian.

The Downeys said Edinger was in his second tour of duty in Iraq after taking part in the initial invasion, where he was part of reconnaissance operations.

There have been 28 service members from Wisconsin killed in the war in Iraq.

Green Bay Marine killed in Iraq eulogized

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Family members remembered Sgt. Benjamin Edinger as a caring person with a gentle side.

Edinger, 24, died Nov. 23 after undergoing medical treatment at the U.S. Navy hospital in Bethesda, Md. He died from shrapnel wounds he received in an explosion on Nov. 14.

Family and friends attended Edinger’s funeral Saturday at St. Agnes Catholic Church.

Green Bay Marines fired a 21-gun salute for the fellow Marine who earned a Purple Heart for his service.

Edinger’s uncles said they were proud of him and other service members serving in Iraq.

Col. Blake Edinger described his nephew as a dedicated young man who had a positive impact on everyone around him.

“There is no way we can put into words how much we are going to miss him,” the uncle said.

Benjamin Edinger graduated from Green Bay West High School in 1999. He enjoyed playing rugby, camping, fishing and weightlifting.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2000 after attending the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He was serving with the 24th Marines Expeditionary Unit and was on his second assignment to Iraq when he was wounded.

The Marine was described as a kind and considerate person.

“There are so many memories, so many stories that there’s no way for me to pick one story for me to share …,” said Blake Edinger.

James Downey, also an uncle to Benjamin Edinger, recalled a story that showed the young Marine had a broad interest and a gentle side: He asked his grandmother to teach him how to knit.

“I’m not sure how that was going to help him be a Marine, but that just gives you an idea of the kind of person that he was,” Downey said. “Here’s this rough and tumble soon-to-be Marine who wanted to learn the home-making task of how to knit.”

Gene Wheaton, a Vietnam veteran, said he watched Benjamin Edinger grow into a comrade. Wheaton said Edinger put himself in harms way because of his love for his fellow troops.

A memorial fund established for Edinger will benefit service members serving overseas and their families.

Plano man’s son Iraq casualty
Combat injuries: Marine wounded by explosive device earlier this month
Inside Marines, Iraqis launch offensive south of Baghdad
PLANO — His body wracked by shrapnel, Sgt. Benjamin Edinger fought from his hospital bed to recover from damage caused by wounds suffered in Iraq.
Monday was his best day.
Edinger, for the first time since the Nov. 14 attack, communicated by pointing out letters on a chart. His mother was at his side.
His father, a Plano resident, had made plans to visit Edinger at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Washington.
By Tuesday morning, however, Edinger was dead.
And his family doesn’t know what went wrong.
“He was doing absolutely spectacular,” said Montfort Edinger, Benjamin’s father, noting the 24-year-old was scheduled to be transferred out of the intensive care unit. “It’s still uncertain. We’re waiting for an autopsy to see what happened because he was so far ahead.”
Benjamin Edinger, a U.S. Marine serving in the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, was wounded earlier this month by an improvised explosive device that also injured a fellow Marine. The man’s family does not know where the attack occurred, and the military has not released information on his death.
“All we know is Iraq. We weren’t told if it was Fallujah or Baghdad,” said Deanne Riemensnider of Plano, Montfort Edinger’s fiancee.
Benjamin Edinger was wounded by shrapnel in the neck, chest, abdomen and one knee, his father said. The four-year Marine had undergone three surgeries since the attack.
The Marine, who lived in Green Bay, Wis., was under sedation the last time he heard his father tell him he loved him.
“You want people to understand these young men over there are doing a job, and they’re doing it for us,” Montfort Edinger said.
Edinger joined the Marines in 2000, making a surprise announcement to his family after completing one year of college in Wisconsin. After basic training, Edinger was assigned to the 3rd Force Service Support Group, where he was a small-computer systems specialist with the Headquarters and Service Battalion.
His family said Edinger took pride in his military service. In a 2001 interview with Stars and Stripes, a military newspaper, Edinger said he felt “real proud wearing the nameplate ‘U.S. Marines.’ ”
Edinger pushed himself hard in the military, completing programs in high-altitude jumping and recognizance before returning to Iraq for a second tour earlier this year.
He was to be discharged from the Marines early next year. He had planned to go to college to become a veterinarian.
“He was proud of what he was doing,” Montfort Edinger said. “He was looking forward to coming home and starting a new lifestyle.”
Funeral services, which will be held in Green Bay, are pending.

Sgt. Benjamin Edinger, a Marine from Green Bay who died from injuries he sustained while serving in Iraq, was remembered as a Hometown Hero and an All American Hero at his funeral.

“Someone close to the Lord in life can be in death as well,” Fr. Richard Getchel told Edinger’s family and friends at the funeral service Dec. 4 in St. Agnes Church, Green Bay. “Ben lived a good life and was full of spirit,” said Fr. Getchel, pastor at St. Agnes.

Edinger was on his second tour of Iraq when a homemade roadside bomb exploded, hitting his vehicle on Nov. 14. He was evacuated to Germany before being flown back to the United States.

His condition appeared to be improving and he was moved out of intensive care. He was even communicating by pointing at letters when his condition took a sudden turn, surprising medical personal. Edinger died Nov. 23 at The National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., from internal bleeding caused by shrapnel wounds from the bomb.

Edinger was in Iraq for the initial U.S. invasion of the Middle East country in March 2003 and returned to the United States. He later made a second trip with the Marines’ 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company, a highly trained and specialized combat unit.

Bp. David Zubik, who was at the funeral, gave a special blessing.

“War brings sickness, frustration, broken friendships and broken families,” Bp. Zubik said. “We thank God for Benjamin who worked to try and bring an end to war, he heard God’s call.”

Gov. Jim Doyle and Congressman Mark Greene sent special messages of condolence to the Edinger family. A flag that has flown over the state capitol in Madison was given to Edinger’s family by State Sen. Dave Hanson to be draped over Edinger’s casket.

At the funeral, a family member read to the several hundred mourners a remembrance written by the Marine’s mother: “He always was ready for any challenge that was brought to him. He enjoyed his work from the technical standpoint working with computers, but he enjoyed the combat training more than anything, and that is where he wanted to be,” Rose Scannell wrote of her son. “He shared his first lesson of field combat with me; never eat bugs bigger than your fist, and you’ll be fine.”

Edinger was a 1999 graduate of West High School in Green Bay. He attended UW-Oshkosh for about a year, then enlisted with the Marines. He planned to return to study veterinary science at UW-Madison.

“He chose the Marines, I think, because that was the branch of the service he was going to get the most challenge from,” said James Downey, Benjamin’s uncle. “When he set his mind to something, he did it. He was originally a computer operator and he volunteered for recon. At first, they did not want to move him because he was too valuable as a computer operator. Sitting behind a desk wasn’t a challenge for him. He wanted to get out there.”

Edinger has been recommended for the Bronze Star award. The recommendation for the award states: “Although mortally wounded, Sgt. Edinger continued to man his gun, fighting for air, until he was relieved of it in order to receive medical attention. Sgt. Edinger was an inspiration to those around him with his physical courage, buoyant fighting spirit, and ‘never quit’ attitude.” A decision on the award is pending.

Edinger is survived by his older brother, Jim, 26, of Madison; his father, Montfort and his fiancée, Deanne Riemensnider of Plano, Ill; his mother, Rose Scannell and step-father Randy Scannell of Green Bay.

“One thing I did notice is the Marines tended to walk around with a little bit more pride, it seemed like,” Edinger said in an article published the day before the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. “I’m not sure. It’s something more within myself, but I just feel real proud wearing the nametape ‘U.S. Marines’ than just anywhere in general.”

Edinger’s family said they are proud of him and they know that he died doing what he wanted to do: serve the nation and fight for freedom.

I receive more than a few of these applications for awards for heroism.  This one stands out for many, many reasons, but mainly because Sergeant Edinger embodies one of the Marine Corps’ traditions – “Every Marine a Rifleman”.   This award was approved.  First you’ll read the statement by his commanding officer (basically, an affadavit).  Then, you can read the citation.

Although a computer technician by trade, Sergeant Edinger was recruited to come to 2d platoon as a radio operator after his noteworthy service with 2d Force Reconnaissance Company, Task Force Tarawa during Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He immediately made an impact on his team by mastering the difficult communication systems required of his job and applying this mastery during a shortened unit training phase and MEU Pre-Deployment Training Phase.  His mastery of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force SIDS (MSIDS) data system allowed his team to provide Reconnaissance and Surveillance to 2d Bn, 5th Special Forces Group during their pre-deployment training for OIF II, thus marking a new relationship between these two units.

Upon deployment to Iraq for OIF II, Sergeant Edinger was designated a heavy machine gunner for his team due to the expertise he displayed on the weapon system during pre-deployment training.  In 11 engagements with the enemy, Sergeant Edinger demonstrated his acumen with the machine gun by providing accurate, suppressive fires when warranted.  His personal discipline was on display most in this capacity, as he never failed to cover his sectors of fire and provide security for his team.  During a combined direct action raid with Hillah SWAT in the town of Lutafiyah,Northern Babil province, on 11 October, Sergeant Edinger’s team was attacked with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) along Alternate Supply Route (ASR) Jackson, and then immediately engaged with small arms fire from an adjacent palm grove.  Sergeant Edinger provided accurate suppressive fires on the enemy, allowing the platoon corpsman to render medical attention to a wounded Marine, and the rest of the platoon to sweep through in the direction of the enemy.  As a result of these suppressive fires, the platoon was able to close with and destroy the trigger man and an enemy observer and thus disable the threat and exfiltrate the contact area.

During a combined direct action raid with Hillah SWAT in Haswah, Northern Babil province, Sergeant Edinger’s team was again the subject of a complex enemy attack.  While providing security for the raid force, Sergeant Edinger’s stack was attacked with an IED mixed with homemade napalm, and small arms fire from two men in a truck in the area.  Sergeant Edinger along with his team returned fire, destroying the truck and the two terrorists inside.  His immediate action, and the actions of the Marines around him, allowed the platoon to continue their raid unabated.  During the same raid, Sergeant Edinger again showed significant physical courage, when his position was probed by a white Bongo truck forced into the area by the local terrorists.  A red Opal followed the truck as it charged through Bravo Stack’s trigger lines, and gained speed even after warned.  Suspecting the truck to be a Vehicle Borne IED, Sergeant Edinger and his team engaged the truck, halting it’s advance.  Due in large parts to his diligence, seven enemy detainees were captured.

On 14 November, during a mission to extract from an Observation Post (OP), Sergeant Edinger’s team was again engaged by an IED ambush.  Although mortally wounded, Sergeant Edinger continued to man his gun, fighting for air, until he was relieved of it in order to receive medical attention.  Sergeant Edinger was an inspiration to those around him with his physical courage, buoyant fighting spirit, and “never quit” attitude.  He will be sorely missed by his platoon, and the Reconnaissance Brotherhood.

EYEWITNESS STATEMENTS

Above summary of action reflects eyewitness account of Capt. T.A. Douglas

The above statement is true to the best of my recollection. Sgt. Edinger was an outstanding young Marine who’s toughness and physical courage will be sorely missed. GySgt. BR Reid

Recommended Citation:

Heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy as Radio Operator and Machine Gunner, Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Special Purpose Force, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 1st Marine Division in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM II from 15 July to 14 November 2004.  During this period, Sergeant Edinger demonstrated exceptional personal courage over the course of 61 combat missions, which included 41 direct action precision raids.  He aquitted himself with coolness and clarity under fire in each engagement.  On 11 October, during a combined direct action raid with Hillah SWAT in Lutifiyah located in the Northern Babil Province, Sergeant Edinger’s team was attacked with an improvised explosive device along alternate supply route Jackson, and then immediately engaged with small arms fire from an adjacent palm grove.  He provided accurate suppressive fires on the enemy, allowing the wounded to receive medical care, and a sweep conducted which fatally wounded the triggerman and observer.  This is just one example of his overall performance throughout this period as he served as an example for seniors and subordinates to emulate from. By his zealous initiative, courageous actions and exceptional dedication to duty Sergeant Edinger reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Combat distinguishing device is authorized.

[su_accordion][su_spoiler title=”Help Us Honor Their Memory” style=”fancy” icon=”caret”]

[/su_spoiler] [/su_accordion]

Green Bay
11/23/2004
Age: 24
Incident Location: Anbar province, Iraq
Branch: Marines
Rank: Sgt.
Unit: 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force
Units Base: Camp Lejeune, North Carolina