Daniel Ryan Bennett
Lance Corporal, United States Marine Corps
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 028-08
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Lance Corporal Daniel R. Bennett, 23, of Clifton, Virginia, died January 11, 2009, as a result of a non-hostile incident in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
The incident is currently under investigation.
For additional background information on this
Marine, news media representatives may contact the 2nd Marine Division
public affairs office at (910) 450-6575.
Coming from a military family, it was no surprise that Daniel Ryan Bennett joined the Marines and found himself serving overseas. What his loved ones didn’t expect is that they’d be saying a final goodbye to him at age 23.
But according to the U.S. Department of Defense, Lance Corporal Bennett died January 11, 2009, in Helmand province, Afghanistan, as a result of a "non-hostile incident" which is currently under investigation. And Thursday, January 22, at 12:30 p.m., a Mass of Christian Burial will be said for him at St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church, 6720 Union Mill Road in Clifton — the same place he attended Cub Scout and Boy Scout meetings as a boy.
"Danny really had a heart of gold," said his mother. "He loved his country, and we’re so proud of him."
The son of Jim and Veronica Bennett of Little Rocky Run, Daniel grew up in that community with his brother Dave, 24; a substitute teacher who graduated last May from the University of Delaware; and sisters Colleen, 21, a junior at the Rochester Institute of Technology; and Laura, 19, a sophomore at VCU.
"Dan loved the outdoors as a kid and spent much of his time fishing, hiking and playing team sports for local youth organizations," said Dave Bennett. "In 1998 he received the sportsmanship award for his football team."
"He loved baseball, too," added Veronica Bennett. "My husband is a Yankees fan, but Danny rooted for the Boston Red Sox — and then the Nationals, once they came to Washington. He was also a real, Civil War buff; he could tell you what general went where and all about the battles."
He went to St. Timothy School through eighth grade and then attended high school at The Hyde School in Woodstock, Conn., where he lettered in varsity lacrosse, football and wrestling. He was Hyde's Most Improved Lacrosse Player in 2003 and was a Second Team All-League goalie. He also worked on the tech crew in the school’s drama department.
After graduating from Hyde in 2005, he joined the Marine Corps in June 2006. After completing boot camp at Parris Island, he was stationed at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. He served two tours of duty overseas, participating in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
"He was an expert marksman and was proud to carry on his family’s military tradition," said David Bennett. "Dan was extremely proud to be a Marine and serve his country." He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Lejeune.
"Danny was in the Personnel Security Division and was a bodyguard for his commanding officer," said his mother. She said his decision to go into the service was influenced by several factors.
"He grew up in a military family," she said. "His maternal grandfather, now retired, was a colonel in the Air Force. And Jim’s dad was in the service in World War II, and also my and Jim’s uncles and cousins. Danny’s cousin’s husband was killed in Iraq in 2004, and the gentleman who lived across the street from us — Stan Hall — was on the plane that went into the Pentagon."
"So Danny saw what can happen in the world and felt called to serve," continued Veronica Bennett. "He felt a responsibility to do what he could for his country. He researched all [branches of the service] and liked the Marines best."
She said he was talking of going to college someday, and he was also making plans for a future with the woman he loved. Before deploying for Afghanistan in October 2008, Danny asked his longtime girlfriend, 2003 Centreville High grad Nicolle DiPasquale of Clifton, to marry him. They became engaged in front of the Washington Monument on the National Mall.
Now, though, besides the American flag and Marine Corps flag adorning the front entrance to the Bennetts’ home, there’s also a floral wreath brought over by a neighbor, and Danny’s loved ones must prepare to lay him to rest. Said his brother, Dave: "He was much loved and supported by his family and friends."
Following Thursday’s church service, he will be buried with full, military honors at Arlington National Cemetery at 3 p.m. But he won’t be alone. "My mom’s buried in Arlington, too," said Veronica Bennett. "She was an Army nurse during World War II, and he’ll be buried near her, in the same section — section 60."
Besides his immediate family, Danny is also survived by his paternal grandparents, Franklyn and Rita Bennett, and his maternal grandfather, Harold Lockwood. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the USO, www.uso.org, or to The Hyde School, www.hyde.edu.
No parent ever expects a child to die before
they do and, although devastated by the loss of her son, Veronica Bennett
said she’s able to cope with it because of her "faith and the belief that
we’ll see him again." In addition, she said, "I know, unfortunately, that
I’m not the first person — and I won’t be the last — in this situation."
WHEREAS, United States Marine Corps Lance Corporal Daniel Ryan Bennett, a resident of Clifton, died on January 11, 2009, while valiantly serving his country in Helmand Province, Afghanistan; and
WHEREAS, a hard-working and dedicated student, Daniel Bennett attended St. Timothy School through eighth grade and then attended high school at The Hyde School in Connecticut, where he lettered in varsity lacrosse, football, and wrestling; and
WHEREAS, following a proud family tradition of military service, Daniel Bennett joined the United States Marine Corps in June 2006 and left for boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, to receive his initial military training; and
WHEREAS, Lance Corporal Daniel Bennett served as a bodyguard in the Personnel Security Division and was assigned to the H & S Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, which is based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; and
WHEREAS, a dedicated and brave soldier, Lance Corporal Daniel Bennett served two tours of duty overseas, participating in both Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan; and
WHEREAS, Lance Corporal Daniel Bennett was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, near his grandmother, an Army nurse from World War II; and
WHEREAS, Lance Corporal Daniel Bennett was devoted to his parents, Jim and Veronica; his brother, Dave; his sisters, Colleen and Laura; his fianc?e, Nicolle; and his numerous other family members and friends; and
WHEREAS, Lance Corporal Daniel Bennett?s death is a reminder of the hazards faced daily by the thousands of Americans who serve in our armed forces overseas and whose devotion to duty places them in harm?s way; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED by the Senate, the House of Delegates concurring, That the General Assembly hereby note with great sadness the loss of a courageous and patriotic Virginian, Lance Corporal Daniel Ryan Bennett; and, be it
RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the Senate
prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to the family of Lance
Corporal Daniel Ryan Bennett as an expression of the high regard in which
his memory is held by the members of the General Assembly and the citizens
BENNETT, DANIEL RYAN
Posted: 19 April 2009 Updated: 24 October 2009
Photo By Holly: May 2009
Photos By Holly, April 2009