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Since 2001, 1886 U.S. troops have died while serving in Afghanistan, and since 2003, 4484 U.S. troops have died while serving in Iraq.

The IGTNT (I Got The News Today) series is a reminder that nearly every day, somebody gets the heartbreaking news that a friend, former classmate, or beloved family member will not be coming home from war.

Tonight we remember a Marine and a Soldier
who died while serving in Afghanistan:

Cpl. Phillip D. McGeath, 25, Abilene, Texas
Spc. Keith D. Benson, 27, of Brockton, Massachusetts

Please take a moment below to remember them,
and all those who have lost their lives in these wars.

Department of Defense announced the death of a Marine during combat operations in Afghanistan:

Cpl. Phillip D. McGeath, 25, Abilene, Texas

Cpl. McGeath died in the January suicide bombing that killed 13 others in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Phillip McGeath was married. He came from a large family of six boys, two of whom are also Marines. He grew up in Abilene, Texas, where he was a stand out football letterman and sang in the high school choir. He graduated from Cooper High School in 2002.

Phillip was recalled as an all around dedicated student who was intellectually curious and a loyal friend.

His high school English teacher told KPHO,

When I reflect back on Philip, I will always remember his servant's heart, his easy smile, and his sweet spirit. He was a true leader of his class-a gentleman and an "old soul…" one who always had the time for those around him. He will be missed by those that remember him, his family, his friends, but we will always remember his warrior spirit.

The Cooper High School health teacher and Football coach also shared fond memories of his former student to the reporternews:

"(I was) deeply saddened," he said of hearing the news that McGeath had died. "He was a great kid, he did everything for other people and had a servant's heart."

He also called McGeath a "workout junkie," a great kid to coach and one who set an example for others to follow.

Among those Cpl. McGeath leaves behind are his wife, his parents, and five brothers, and his fellow Marines.
Cpl. Phillip McGeath is missed. May he rest in peace.


written by Horace Lorenzo Trim

Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar drawing nigh,
Falls the night.

Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the run
All is well, safely rest;
God is nigh.

Then goodnight, peaceful night;
Till the light of the dawn shineth bright.
God is near, do not fear,
Friend, goodnight.

The Department of Defense announced the death of a combat medic who was serving in Afghanistan:

Spc. Keith D. Benson, 27, of Brockton, Massachusetts

Spc. "Doc" Benson died January 18, in Paktika province, Afghanistan. The circumstances surrounding his death are currently under investigation. He was assigned to the "BlackHawks" - 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade, based in Grafenwoehr, Germany.

Keith Benson was an only child from the small town of Brockton located south of Boston. He graduated from Norwood High School in 2002, where his friends remember his laugh and caring nature. Like Cpl. McGeath, Spc. Benson sang in his high school choir.

The Norwood High School principal told Wicked Local News that Keith was “solid student who loved music.

“He was a member of our concert chorale for four years, and it was something he loved,” he said. “He really enjoyed being a part of that group.”

Benson’s next-door neighbor said in Wicked Local News he was shocked to hear of the soldier’s death.

“I’m just so sorry. My heart goes out to the family." “He was a good kid. He didn’t get himself in trouble, he was friendly, and he had close relationships with all the members of his family.”

Spc. Benson deployed with the 172nd to eastern Afghanistan in summer 2011 for a 12-month tour. Spc. Benson took his work seriously as a combat medic and enjoyed it.  His friends said he was considering becoming an EMT when he got out of the Army.

A statement signed by brigade commander Col. Edward Bohnemann and posted to the 172nd Facebook page read in part:

"SPC Benson was considered one of the most technically skilled combat medics within the brigade. He demonstrated resolve and personal courage in conducting combat trauma under fire.

He was recognized by his peers and leaders as a caring, disciplined Soldier who took pride in providing medical care to Soldiers. SPC Benson’s impact goes beyond his actions in Paktika province and his loss affects this entire brigade.

Stars and Stripes

Norwood High School plans a tribute to Spc. Benson near other plaques honoring the town's veterans.

"He was a true son of this school on the hill. We're proud of him," the Principal said in the The Boston Channel.

Among those Spc. Benson leaves behind are his family and friends in Norwood, and his Soldiers in the 2nd Battalion.
Spc. Keith Benson is missed. May he rest in peace.

* * *

Thanks to Timroff for our faithfully lighted candle IGTNT logo;
Other Photos by CalNM and linked Sources

Helping our troops: If you wish to assist our military and their families, consider Operation Helmet, or sponsoring a deployed service member at Fisher House provides housing for families of injured troops and veterans who are recovering in hospitals, and Guardian angels for soldierspet assists the animal companions of our deployed military.

When our veterans come back home, they can find support at Welcome Back Veterans. Our recently returned veterans need jobs, and Veterans Green Jobs is now hiring for positions and filling training sessions. VGJ corps retrains veterans as leaders in forest and resource conservation, green construction, and energy efficient upgrades of homes in rural areas. Encourage a Veteran, and see if you can help out.

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About the IGTNT series: I Got the News Today is intended to honor, respect, and remember the fallen, and to remind us that each casualty has family and friends who received the terrible news that their loved one has died at war.

Diaries about the fallen usually appear two days after their names are officially released, which allows time for the IGTNT team to find and tell their stories. The US Department of Defense news releases are found at defense gov/releases. Icasualties lists the names of those killed, and shows the number of wounded. Published AP photos of the returning war fatalities are found on the Dover AFB page. Click the IGTNT tags below for previous diaries in the series which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by monkeybiz, noweasels, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, roses, SisTwo, a girl in MI, Spam Nunn, JeNoCo, Janos Nation, True Blue Majority, Proud Mom and Grandma, Sandy on Signal, Wide Awake in Kentucky, Ms Wings, maggiejean, JaxDem, theFatLadySings, Ekaterin, and me, CalNM. These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for our fallen brothers and sisters.

Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members chronicled here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.

Originally posted to IGTNT on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 06:03 PM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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