Petty Officer 1st Class Benson, 28, was a native of Angwin, California. He enlisted in the United States Navy in September, 2001.
After graduating from Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes, Illinois in November, 2001, he reported to his initial service school training at Pensacola, Florida. After completing his service school in February, 2002, he reported to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at Coronado, California. In January 2003, he checked into Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command at Coronado, California. He then transferred to a West Coast based SEAL Team in June, 2003. In September of 2009, he checked into his East Coast based SEAL Team.
Petty Officer Benson's awards 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, and Pistol Marksmanship Medal.
Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, Rear Admiral Sean A. Pybus, released the following statement:
" Early Saturday morning, Aug. 6, Naval Special Warfare suffered a tremendous loss of 22 men while conducting critical special operations combat in Afghanistan. They cannot be replaced. We will honor their service and sacrifice, and embrace their families as our own, in this time of immeasurable grief. The outpouring of support and sympathy from the Armed Services, the Government, Communities and the Public is well beyond my ability to properly thank. The Naval Special Warfare Community is deeply humbled and appreciative.
Our NSW men were in company with U.S. Army aircrew, U.S. Air Force para-rescue and combat controllers, and an Afghan security element. We grieve for all of them, and admire their teamwork, commitment and courage. I have great hope for the future knowing that extraordinary men dedicate themselves completely to the idea and the actions of freedom and security, not only for ourselves but for others. We are truly blessed that such men answer a call to military service at the highest levels of professionalism and capability, but also deeply saddened by their loss. In the days and weeks ahead, I would ask for your thoughts, prayers and support for NSW, our Families, the Special Operations Community, and all of our Armed Forces."
Insurgents shot down a Chinook helicopter in Eastern Afghanistan on August 6, 2011, killing 30 U.S. servicemembers and eight Afghans, including 22 members of Naval Special Warfare.
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