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Marine Capt. Benjamin W. Sammis

Died April 4, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

29, of Rehobeth, Mass.; assigned to the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Camp Pendleton; Calif.; killed in action when his helicopter crashed near Ali Aziziyal, Iraq.

Benjamin Sammis wanted to fly since he was 10.

He fed his need for speed as a proficient sailor on Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay, near his boyhood home of Rehoboth, Mass. Few were surprised when the former Eagle Scout attended The Citadel military college and joined the Marines, where he qualified on both jet aircraft and helicopters.

Sammis, 29, was killed April 4 when his helicopter crashed during combat.

His parents, Steve and Beth Sammis, said in a statement that their son “loved to fly and loved the Corps as much as life itself. We are devastated by our loss, as we are for all who have lost loved ones. We will be forever proud of him and the character he held so true.”

His wife of 18 months, Stacy Sammis, said: “Sometimes in life, you are lucky enough to find and marry your best friend. Ben and I were that lucky.”

— USA Today and The Associated Press

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