Local Soldier Killed in Afghanistan
The body of a soldier with local ties who died recently in Afghanistan was returned to Moore County Monday.
The Patriot Guard motorcycle group accompanied the body of Master Sgt. Benjamin Franklin Bitner as he was brought from Pope Air Force Base to Boles Funeral Home in Southern Pines
Bitner, 37, was on patrol in the Kandahar Province on April 23, when he died from wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device (IED), the Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg announced
He was assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), headquartered at Fort Bragg. His wife, April, and sons, Gunnar and Rogue, live in Jackson Springs.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at the JFK Chapel at Fort Bragg.
Bitner was born July 4, 1973, in Hagerstown, Md., and was a 1991 graduate of Greencastle Antrim High School in Greencastle, Pa. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1991 and attended Special Forces Assessment and Selection in 1999. Later that year, he graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course as an engineer sergeant.
He joined Company C, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg in 2003.
Bitner deployed in support of various operations across the globe, including Operation Flintlock, Africa, 2001; Operation Nectar Bend, Africa, 2004; Task Force Falcon in support of operations in Kosovo, 2001-2002; Operation Desert Spring, Kuwait, 2002; Operation Iraqi Freedom; and four deployments to Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) with Company C.
His military education includes Basic Infantry Course, Basic Airborne Course, Long Range Surveillance Leader's Course, Warriors Leader Course, Special Forces Engineer Sergeant's Course, Basic Non-commissioned Officer's Course, Advanced Non-commissioned Officer's Course, Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape Course, Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat Course;
Special Forces Sniper Course, Special Forces Advanced Reconnaissance Target Analysis and Exploitation Technique's Course, Special Forces Intelligence Sergeant's Course, Military Free-Fall Course, both Summer and Winter Basic Mountain Warfare Courses and the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Mountaineering Master Trainer's Course.
Bitner's military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (six); Purple Heart; Meritorious Service Medal (two); Army Commendation Medal (three) with "V" device; Army Achievement Medal (three); Army Good Conduct Medal (four); Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (three); National Defense Service Medal (two); Kosovo Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three campaign stars;
Iraq Campaign Medal with one campaign star; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terror Service Medal; Non-commissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon (three); Army Service Ribbon; NATO Medal (four); Special Forces Tab; Combat Infantryman's Badge; Parachutists Badge; Military Free-Fall Badge; Bandenkampfabzeichen Badge; and Ram's Head Device.
Contact John Chappell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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