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Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Benjamin P. Castiglione

Died September 3, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

21, of Howell, Mich.; was assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Sept. 3 while supporting combat operations in Qal Yeh Now, Afghanistan. Also killed was Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher S. Baltazar Jr.

Corpsman with 2nd LAR killed in Afghanistan

Staff report

A Navy corpsman was killed Sept. 3 while supporting Marines in southern Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department.

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Benjamin P. Castiglione, 21, of Howell, Mich., died after being struck by an improvised explosive in Helmand province, his family told local media. Units from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade have been operating in Helmand and neighboring provinces since the spring. He was assigned to 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion out of Camp Lejeune.

Castiglione was the subject of a February feature story in the Daily Press & Argus, his hometown newspaper. At the time, his father described the corpsman as a “gung-ho, John Wayne type of guy.”

Just a few months before that article was published, Castiglione had received a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for actions in Iraq. His commander, Col. R.E. Smith, singled out the sailor’s quick actions after one Marine in the unit had been stung by a scorpion and, again, in the wake of a car wreck involving Iraqi civilians near Combat Outpost Rio Lobo.

“The military life is not easy,” Castiglione told the newspaper last winter, “but I believe that I am a stronger person for it. The hardships I have dealt with were worth what I have learned and the bonds I have with the Marines in my platoon. When my platoon and I have downtime and talk and mess around with each other, it’s like one big hilarious, dysfunctional family — and it’s a blast. We take care of each other.”

Castiglione joined the Navy in 2006. He aspired to be a physician’s assistant.

Flags lowered in memory of Michigan sailor

The Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Jennifer Granholm has ordered that U.S. flags in Michigan be flown at half-staff to honor a sailor from Howell who was killed in Afghanistan.

Granholm says flags should be lowered Sept. 21 for Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Benjamin P. Castiglione, 21. He served as a hospitalman, the Navy equivalent of an Army medic.

Castiglione died Sept. 3 from injuries sustained while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Battalion.

Corpsman joined Navy out of high school

The Associated Press

Benjamin P. Castiglione was unfazed even by a scorpion. He helped civilians and comrades in the Afghan and Iraqi war zones as a medic in the Navy, once treating an unconscious Marine having breathing and heart problems after being stung by the desert-dwelling creature.

“Those Marines meant the world to him,” said his mother, Carrie Castiglione. “I talked to him before he went to Iraq about preparing himself for losing one if he had to. He said, ‘Mom, I’m bringing all those guys home.’ ”

Instead, they lost him in Afghanistan.

Castiglione, 21, of Howell, Mich., was killed Sept. 3 by an improvised explosive in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Camp Lejeune, N.C.

He graduated from Howell High School in 2006 and joined the Navy that November. He served in Iraq for eight months last year and deployed to Afghanistan in June.

He wanted to continue medical work and planned to become a physician’s assistant. He also was looking forward to going to Germany or Hawaii when his deployment ended in November, his parents said.

He died one day after talking about those plans with his family.

Castiglione is also survived by three stepbrothers.

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