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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 with 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 its 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.


The above summary of action reflects the 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 with 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.

A 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 harm's way because of his love for his fellow troops.

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

- Associated Press

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