MEDFORD, NY, US
SSG, COMPANY B, 3D BATTALION, 7TH SPECIAL FORCES GROUP, FORT BRAGG, NC
20091026, DARREH-YE BUM, AFGHANISTAN
Staff Sergeant Keith R. Bishop, 28, died on Oct. 26, 2009, when the helicopter he was aboard crashed while conducting a combat mission in the city of Darreh-Ye Bum, Afghanistan while serving with Company B, 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne).
He deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom July 2009 as a member of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force –Afghanistan. This was his second deployment in support of the War on Terror.
Bishop a native of Medford, N.Y., enlisted into the U.S. Army in April2003 as an Infantryman. He was assigned to 1st Bn., 506th Infantry Regiment, Camp Grieves, Korea. He later served with 1st Bn., 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division before deciding to pursue the goal of becoming a Special Forces Soldier in 2007 by attending the Special Forces Selection and Assessment. He completed the Special Forces Qualification Course October 2008 and earned the coveted “Green Beret” as a Special Forces weapons sergeant. He was then assigned to 3rd Bn., 7th SFG (A). Bishop’s military education includes the Warrior Leader’s Course, Basic NCO Course, Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course, Basic Airborne Course, Air Assault Course and Special Forces Qualification Course.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal for Valor, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Air Assault Badge, Parachutist Badge, and the Special Forces Tab.
Bishop is survived by his wife Margaret of Flagler Beach, Fla. and parents Robert and Suzan Bishop, of Carlisle, Pa.
A VFW post commander who donated his Purple Heart medal so that Staff Sergeant Keith Bishop would not have to be buried without one will get his replaced, thanks to Suffolk County N.Y. Executive Steve Levy.
Army officials had decided against awarding the Purple Heart to, of Medford N.Y., saying the helicopter crash that killed him Oct. 26 was not due to enemy action – a requirement for the medal.
Bruce Brenner, Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #1469, in Huntington N.Y., heard of the disappointment the ruling caused Bishop’s family as they were making funeral plans, and offered to give them the Purple Heart he earned in Vietnam. Bishop’s family buried him with the medal pinned to his chest.
“My mother was really agitated by the technicality of the matter,” said Bishop’s brother, Stephen Bishop, of Middle Island, NY. “This was a kind act.”
Levy plans to give Brenner a replacement medal at a ceremony Monday at the County Executive’s offices in Hauppauge. Stephen Bishop said Brenner’s generosity was particularly comforting because it allowed his family to include the medal in the burial.
“I just thought about the family, the mother,” Brenner said. “It was a pleasure for me to do it. It was a gift from one soldier to another.