Benjamin James  Palmer
Lieutenant Colonel, United States Marine Corps
California State Flag
U.S. Department of Defense 
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 412-11
May 16, 2011

DOD Identifies Marine Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two Marines who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sergeant Kevin B. Balduf, 27, of Nashville, Tennessee, and Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin J. Palmer, 43, of Modesto, California, died May 12, 2011 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

                This incident is currently under investigation.

Sergeant Balduf was assigned to 8th Communications Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.  For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact the II Marine Expeditionary Force public affairs office at 910-451-5260.

Lieutenant Colonel Palmer was assigned to Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Cherry Point, North Caroloina.  For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact the II Marine Aircraft Wing public affairs office at 252-466-4241.


Authorities have confirmed that a Marine who grew up in Modesto was one of the two members of a training team killed May 12, 2011 by an Afghan policeman.

CNN reported last week that two members of the U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan were killed in a shootout at an Afghan police compound in southern Helmand province.

CNN reported that the mentoring team was about to eat lunch with Afghan police when the uniformed policeman opened fire. The policeman was wounded during the gunfight.

A Marine spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday that Loeutenant Colonel Benjamin J. Palmer, 43, a 1986 Downey High School graduate, was one of the two Marines killed by the policeman. The other was Sergeant Kevin B. Balduf, 27, of Nashville, Tennessee.

BJ Palmer USMC PHOTO

Gunnery Sergeant Reina Barnett a spokeswoman with Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, where Palmer was stationed said she had no other information about the incident.

The military has said the shooting is under investigation.

Palmer was just three weeks into a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan when he was killed, according to his family. He had served in the Marines for more than 20 years, including time in Iraq.

Palmer's mother, Linda Palmer, formerly of Modesto, said more than 500 people are expected at her son's memorial service Monday at the Cherry Point air station.

"He was always looking out for his Marines," Linda Palmer said Wednesday as she choked back tears. "As one Marine told me, 'He was a Marine's Marine.' "

Linda Palmer believes her son was leading a team that was training Afghan security forces. She does not have any details regarding his death.

Benjamin Palmer had a bachelor's degree from California State University, Sacramento, and a master's degree from the University of Central Michigan. He was an air command and control officer.


A Marine Corps officer who was a Sacramento State University graduate died May 12 in Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin J. Palmer, 43, of Modesto was killed by enemy small-arms fire in Helmand province. The military is investigating the incident that also claimed the life of another Marine.

A Marine spokesman said Palmer earned a bachelor's degree in humanities from California State University, Sacramento.

Palmer was a graduate of Downey High School in Modesto. He also played bugle with the Sacramento Freelancers Drum and Bugle Corps.

"He had a strong sense of duty and of helping others," his mother, Linda Palmer, told the Modesto Bee. "We are going to miss him like crazy."

Palmer said she believes her son was leading a team that was training Afghan security forces. She did not have any details about his death.

CNN has reported that two members of U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan were killed Thursday in a shootout at Afghan police compound in southern Helmand province.

CNN said the service members were part of a mentoring team that was preparing to eat lunch with Afghan police when a uniformed policeman opened fire. The CNN report did not identify the casualties.

Palmer was a graduate of Downey High School in Modesto. He also played bugle with the Sacramento Freelancers Drum and Bugle Corps.

PALMER, BENJAMIN J   
LTCOL   US MARINE CORPS 
AFGHANISTAN, IRAQ 
DATE OF BIRTH: 02/03/1968 
DATE OF DEATH: 05/12/2011 
BURIED AT: SECTION 60  SITE 9629 
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

Webmaster: Michael Robert Patterson


Posted: 13 September 2011 Updated: 10 November 2011
Purple Heart Medal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

BJ Palmer Gravesite PHOTO By Eileen Horan November 2011

BJ Palmer Gravesite PHOTO By Eileen Horan November 2011

BJ Palmer Gravesite PHOTO By Eileen Horan November 2011
Photos By Eileen Horan, November 2011

BJ Palmer Gravesite PHOTO By Eileen Horan September 2011
Photo By Eileen Horan, September 2011