Jefferson, IA, US
U.S. Marine Corps
LCPL, E CO, 2D BN, 4TH MAR, 1ST MARDIV, CAMP PENDLETON, CA
04/06/2004, AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq
LCPL Benjamin Robert Carman of Jefferson, Iowa was a 2002 graduate of Jefferson-Scranton High School who played football and loved all things that involved being out of doors: fishing, hunting and camping. Benjamin had been in Iraq for less than two months.
The Reverend Rod Block, pastor of First Assembly of God Church in Jefferson, remembered Ben’s visit home before leaving for Iraq. It was significant because when Ben attended Sunday service he wore his Marine uniform. Ben Carman’s late grandfather had been a prisoner of war during World War II, and Ben’s military service made them proud that he continued a family tradition.
“Ben was nervous, knowing where he was going, but he was not hesitant to go,” explained Pastor Block who had spent time speaking with the Carman family. “He believed in what he was going to be doing and his family still does.”
Relatives and friends flocked to the Carman house after hearing the news. People had begun leaving flowers and other mementos next to a sign by the side of Iowa Highway 4 that simply stated: “Pray for Our Troops. Semper Fi.”
Bob Bills, a classmate and “fishing buddy” of Carman’s, stopped with friends to leave flowers by the sign. He explained that it wasn’t possible to overstate what a good person LCPL Carman was. He said he and Ben used to pretend as kids that they were in the military. LCPL Carman decided to become a Marine as he was about to graduate explained Dan Benitz, a Jefferson-Scranton industrial technology teacher who taught Ben. “He was real positive about going into the Marine Corps.”
“Ben was quiet until you got to know him, and then you wanted to know him better,” said Dave Briggs, who taught LCPL Carman in agricultural education classes. “He just had a personality that everyone loved.”
Pastor Block reminded the Carman family of some of the Bible’s messages during a visit with them. “The Scripture says: ‘No greater love has any man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.’ Ben understood the price of going to Iraq and he was ready to do it,” Pastor Block added.