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Marine Lt. Col. Benjamin J. Palmer

Died May 12, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

43, of Modesto, Calif., assigned to Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Cherry Point, N.C. died May 12 at Camp Dwyer, Helmand province, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations. Also killed was Sgt. Kevin Balduf.

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2 Marines killed in Afghanistan

By Dan Lamothe

Staff writer

A Marine lieutenant colonel and sergeant have died in Afghanistan in what appears to be a shooting by an Afghan policeman.

Lt. Col. Benjamin Palmer, 43, and Sgt. Kevin Balduf, 27, died Thursday in Helmand province, Pentagon officials said Monday. No additional details about their deaths were initially available, but U.S. military officials in Kabul announced Friday that two service members were killed that day in southwestern Helmand after a member of the Afghan National Civil Order Police, or ANCOP, shot them in a police compound.

“While this is a serious incident, the actions of this individual do not reflect the overall actions of our Afghan partners,” said Marine Maj. Gen. James Laster, the International Security Assistance Force’s deputy chief of staff for joint operations. “We remain committed to our partners and to our mission here.”

Palmer was assigned to Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2, out of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. Balduf was assigned to 8th Communications Battalion, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. Balduf’s remains arrived Saturday at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Air Force officials said.

Additional details about the Marines’ duties were not immediately available. Palmer served last year in Afghanistan as the commander of 2nd Low Altitude Defense Battalion, out of MCAS Cherry Point, N.C. He was replaced in a ceremony at Cherry Point in December after the unit’s deployment ended, according to a Marine news release. The battalion served downrange as a provisional infantry security force.

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