Young Army officer mourned at ceremony
July 27, 2010
VILSECK, Germany — Fellow officers shared memories during a ceremony at Vilseck on Tuesday for a young lieutenant killed by an improvised bomb while he attempted to recover a disabled military vehicle in Afghanistan.
Before the fatal July 18 blast, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment logistics officer 1st Lt. Robert N. Bennedsen had already gone on countless patrols in Zabul province, 2-2 commander Lt. Col. Omar Jones said in remarks read at the ceremony.
As a member of an advance party that deployed in May, Bennedsen, 25, of Vashon, Wash., set conditions for his squadron to occupy nine bases across Zabul, he said.
“He was participating in a mission to one of our combat outposts,” Jones said. “He was recovering a disabled Stryker (armored personnel carrier) when an IED (improvised explosive device) ended his life.”
Bennedsen’s company commander, Capt. Kevin Ryan, said that the young officer represented the future of the Army’s officer corps.
“Always leading from the front… He died in combat leading his soldiers,” Ryan said, in remarks read at the ceremony, . “He selflessly risked his life to aid fellow American soldiers and recover a vehicle that was damaged. He died a soldier’s death, and his actions on that hot day in July will inspire all of us to continue the mission.”
Another 2nd Cav officer, Capt. Richard Faille, said in remarks read at the ceremony, that his friend — who enjoyed football, wrestling, scuba diving and restoring classic muscle cars — led troops by example.
“He was always right there with them, pulling apart generators and he was never afraid to get his hands dirty,” he said. “Sometimes I think he would have been happier rolling around under a Stryker than in his office.”
Jones said Bennedsen would want his comrades to stay focused on their mission in Afghanistan.
“Rob wouldn’t want us to lessen our pressure or slow our tempo,” he said.