INDEPENDENCE, MO, USA U.S. Army CPL, BATTERY D, 1ST BATTALION, 5TH FIELD ARTILLERY, FORT RILEY, KS BALAD, IRAQ 05/24/2007
22 year-old CPL Benjamin Ashley of Independence, Mo.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died May 24, 2007 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.
Cpl. Ashley graduated from Truman High School in 2002 where he was a musician in the school band. He was known as “Benjamin Saxophone” from the band jacket he would always wear. He played the baritone saxophone and participated in concert, jazz and marching band at the school. He worked hard and eventually made it to the highest band ensemble.
Not long after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacked, the band got to march at Arrowhead Stadium. Just the week before games were canceled because of 9/11 and for the first game they needed a band for halftime. Being a Chiefs fan he was incredibly excited.
Since the age of 5, Benjamin wanted to be in the army. He would say, “I want to be a G.I. Joe. I want to drive a tank. I want to run the bad guys over. He realized that goal when he enlisted in the United States Army and began serving in the 1st Infantry Division in September 2005.
Ben leaves behind a widow, a 2-year old son, his parents and a sister.