Friends, family and fellow service members gathered for the memorial dedication of fallen Marines Capt. Ben Sammis and Capt. Travis Ford at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Jan. 21,
2012. Sammis and Ford, helicopter pilots with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267, were killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom when their AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter crashed near Ali Aziziyal, Iraq, April 5, 2003. Photo by Dallas Poore
MIRAMAR, Calif. (1/24/2012) - Friends, family and fellow
service members gathered for a memorial dedication for
fallen Marines Capt. Ben Sammis and Capt. Travis Ford at
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Jan. 21.
Sammis and Ford, helicopter pilots with Marine Light Attack
Helicopter Squadron 267, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd
Marine Aircraft Wing, Camp Pendleton, Calif., were killed
during Operation Iraqi Freedom when their AH-1W Super Cobra
helicopter crashed near Ali Aziziyal, Iraq, April 5, 2003.
“Today, we honor Ben and Travis and pay respect to
our fallen comrades,” said retired Marine Lt. Col. Stephen
Heywood, who served as the HMLA-267 commanding officer
November 2002 to May 2004. “We honor their ultimate
sacrifice and know that they fought with us because they
believed in freedom.”
Sammis's father and
mother could not make it to the memorial service, but asked
Heywood to read a letter during the ceremony.
Benjamin's father wrote, “Just as there is a wound in our
soul, it is one shared by so many others, a wound that with
time will heal somewhat, but will never completely go away.”
Heywood said, during the ceremony, the Sammis family sat
concurrently upon the granite bench unveiled to honor
Benjamin on Memorial Day 2010 in his hometown, Rehoboth,
Mass. He was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
The 1996 Citadel graduate was highly decorated with the
Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense Medal and various
service and campaign medals.
Ford graduated Ogallala
High School in Ogallala, Neb., and went on to earn a
bachelor's degree in business administration from the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1997. He was buried at
Fort McPherson National Cemetery near Maxwell, Neb.
Near the end of the ceremony, two plaques honoring Sammis
and Ford were revealed to honor the Marines while the
Marine's Hymn played and friends and family mourned.
After the ceremony, friends and family visited the Mount
Soledad Veterans Memorial where Sammis and Ford's plaques
are permanently exhibited.
More photos available below
By USMC Cpl. Jennifer Pirante
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