CLIFTON, VA, USA U.S. Marines LCPL, H&S CO, 3D BN, 8TH MAR, 2D MAR DIV, CAMP LEJEUNE, NC CAMP BASTION, AFGHANISTAN 01/11/2009
Coming from a military family, it was no surprise that Daniel Ryan Bennett joined the Marines and found himself serving overseas.
Lance Corporal Bennett, 23, of Clifton, VA, died on Sunday, January 11, 2009 at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. He was a veteran of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Services were held for him at St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church, in Clifton – the same place he attended Cub Scout and Boy Scout meetings as a boy.
“Danny really had a heart of gold,” said his mother. “He loved his country, and we’re so proud of him.”
The son of Jim and Veronica Bennett, Bennett grew up with his brother Dave and sisters Colleen and Laura.
“Dan loved the outdoors as a kid and spent much of his time fishing, hiking and playing team sports for local youth organizations,” said Dave Bennett. ” In 1998 he received the sportsmanship award for his football team.”
“He loved baseball, too,” added Veronica Bennett. “My husband is a Yankees fan, but Danny rooted for the Boston Red Sox – and then the Nationals, once they came to Washington. He was also a real Civil War buff; he could tell you what general went where and all about the battles.”
Daniel went to St. Timothy School through eighth grade and then attended high school at The Hyde School in Woodstock, Conn., where he lettered in varsity lacrosse, football and wrestling. He was Hyde’s Most Improved Lacrosse Player in 2003 and was a Second Team All-League goalie. He also worked on the tech crew in the school’s drama department.
After graduating from Hyde in 2005, he joined the Marine Corps in June 2006. After completing boot camp at Parris Island, he was stationed at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C. He served two tours of duty overseas, participating in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
“He grew up in a military family,” Veronica said. “His maternal grandfather, now retired, was a colonel in the Air Force. And Jim’s dad was in the service in World War II, and also my and Jim’s uncles and cousins. Danny’s cousin’s husband was killed in Iraq in 2004, and the gentleman who lived across the street from us – Stan Hall – was on the plane that went into the Pentagon.”
“So Danny saw what can happen in the world and felt called to serve,” continued Veronica Bennett. “He felt a responsibility to do what he could for his country. He researched all [branches of the service] and liked the Marines best.”
She said he was talking of going to college someday, and he was also making plans for a future with the woman he loved. Before deploying for Afghanistan in October 2008, Danny asked his longtime girlfriend, 2003 Centreville High grad Nicolle DiPasquale of Clifton, to marry him. They became engaged in front of the Washington Monument on the National Mall.
He was buried with full, military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. But he won’t be alone. “My mom’s buried in Arlington, too,” said Veronica Bennett. “She was an Army nurse during World War II, and he’ll be buried near her, in the same section – section 60.”