- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- Operation Spartan Shield
- U.S. Africa Command Operations
- U.S. Central Command operations
- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Army Pfc. Benjamin B. Tollefson
Died December 31, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
22, of Concord, Calif.; assigned to the Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died Dec. 31 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with indirect fire in Ghazaliya.
Fort Riley soldier dies in Iraq attack
The Associated Press
FORT RILEY, Kan. — A Fort Riley soldier has died of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit in Iraq.
The Army says 22-year-old Pvt. Benjamin Tollefson of Concord, Calif., died Dec. 31 in Balad, Iraq. Tollefson was an infantryman assigned to the Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division based at the northeast Kansas post.
Fort Riley spokeswoman Deb Skidmore said Tollefson was in his first tour of duty in Iraq. He entered the Army in August 2007 and was assigned to Fort Riley in March 2008.
To date, 159 Fort Riley soldiers have died while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pvt. remembered for being caring, humble
The Associated Press
Cory Renfrow said his pal Benjamin B. Tollefson liked to camp, drink beer, play catch, shoot at the firing range and watch sports. He had a high-pitched and distinctive laugh, like “a big opera singer lady,” that was memorable and contagious.
“He was the most compassionate, humble guy I ever met in my life,” Renfrow said. “He’s been my best friend since we were 11 years old.”
Tollefson, 22, of Concord, Calif., died Dec. 31 in Balad of wounds suffered from indirect fire in Ghazaliya. He was assigned to Fort Riley.
“He could get along with anyone,” said Valerie Barnes, a friend. “He was a very caring person who you could open up to easily.”
Tollefson, who graduated from high school in 2005, was a defensive lineman on the school’s football team.
“If I could summarize Ben in just one word, it would be hilarious,” said friend and former teammate Dane McCoy. “He was crazy, a little wild, great to be around.”
He also is survived by his wife, Natalie, and their son, 8-month-old Mac.
“If everyone could love their wife and kids as much as he did, the world would be a better place,” Renfrow said.