Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Robert N Bennedsen

Vashon, Washington

July 18, 2010

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
25 Army 1st Lt

2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment

Vilseck, Germany

 Killed at Qalat, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.

For Memorial Service Snapshots, Click photo below

August 1, 2010

From John Sage 09/19/10:

I have a tribute page of photos for 1LT Robert N. Bennedsen, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment up at:

His memorial service at Vashon High School stadium on August 1, 2010 starts at:

Robert's football jersey and #32 were retired last Friday, September 17, 2010 at the Vashon High School Pirates home game, photos are here:

From The Seattle Times seattletimes.nwsource.com 07/19/10:

Vashon man killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan

By Nick Perry

Seattle Times staff reporter

Vashon Island soldier 1st Lt. Robert Bennedsen may have been trying to help his colleagues when he was killed by a roadside bomb Sunday in Afghanistan.

The U.S. Army has yet to release details about the 25-year-old's death, but the officer's aunt, Bonnie Bennedsen, said that's her understanding — and it doesn't surprise her because her nephew was a fine man who always tried to do the right thing.

Lt. Bennedsen had deep local roots. He grew up on Vashon Island and graduated in 2004 from Vashon Island High School. He majored in business at Seattle University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in 2008.

More than anything, he loved action.

"Robert lived everything to the max," said Bonnie Bennedsen.

In high school, he was an outstanding football player and a star wrestler, according to his family. He won the school's top scholar-athlete award.

He also loved to scuba dive — especially in Hawaii, where he would spend vacations with his family.

Bonnie Bennedsen said her nephew served as a volunteer firefighter while in high school and at a young age became qualified to train other firefighters.

On his Facebook page, Lt. Bennedsen talks about another of his passions — restoring cars.

"Plans for the summer ... let's see ... work ... Oh and finish my 67 Camaro rs/ss. I have the engine at the race shop now, its nothing too fancy, just a 350ci small block. I hope to be pushing no less than 450 horsepower, mmmmm my baby car :). In a year and a half I'm moving to Alabama for flight school. When I graduate I wanna fly little birds for the 160th soar."

Sister Jamie Bennedsen, of Tacoma, said her brother had wanted to be a serviceman since he was a little kid.

"It was his lifelong dream," she said.

"He was the most caring, respectful person I have ever met in my life," she added.

Lt. Bennedsen's family said he enrolled in the Reserve Officer Training Corps while at Seattle U. In 2008, he helped run the summer ROTC program at Fort Lewis. He was then stationed in Germany.

Lt. Bennedsen was sent to Afghanistan less than a month ago, said his aunt.

Her understanding is that her nephew was stationed in Qalat and was running supplies to remote outposts. Over the weekend, an ambulance in his convoy drove over a roadside bomb and exploded, she said.

She was told he jumped out of his vehicle to see if he could lend assistance to those in the ambulance. It was then that he stepped on a roadside bomb and was killed, she said.

Lt. Bennedsen's body was due to arrive Monday on the East Coast and will be transported back to this area in about a week's time, said Bonnie Bennedsen. She said details for a memorial are still being finalized.

She said the family, in lieu of flowers, hopes donations will be used to improve the Vashon Island football field.

In addition to his sister, Lt. Bennedsen is survived by his parents, Tracy and Scott Bennedsen, of Vashon Island.

Seattle Times news researcher Gene Balk contributed to this report.
Copyright The Seattle Times Company

From Vashon-Maury News vashonnews.com 

Robert Bennedsen, graduate of Vashon High School and Seattle university, deployed to Afghanistan for a one year tour of duty, was killed this week end in Afganistan.

First Lt. Robert Bennedsen and his platoon were stationed in Qalat Afghanistan and were running supply convoys to remote outposts. Bennedsen, 25, of Vashon, Wash., died July 18 at Qalat, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.

Robert Grew up on Vashon where he graduated from Vashon High School in 2004. At Vashon High School he was on the Football and Wrestling teams, where he won the school's top scholar-athlete award. Bennedsen served as a volunteer firefighter on Vashon Island.

He graduated from Seattle University, with a bachelor's degree in 2008. While at Seattle University he enrolled in the Reserve Officer Training Corps. In 2008, he helped run the summer ROTC program at Fort Lewis.

He was then stationed in Germany. Lt. Bennedsen was sent to Afghanistan less than a month ago.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, August 1st, 2pm at Vashon High School.

A fund has been set up in memory of Bennedsen. Send donations to the Vashon Bounty Club, P.O. Box 621, Vashon, WA 98070. Donations will spearhead renovations to the Vashon High School football field.
In lieu of flowers the family request that donations be made to the fund.

Lt. Bennedsen is survived by his parents, Tracy and Scott Bennedsen, of Vashon Island and sister Jamie Bennedsen, of Tacoma.

From Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber vashonbeachcomber.com 07/20/10:

RIP Robert Bennedsen
July 20th, 2010 at Tue, 20th, 2010 at 10:25 am by Rik Forschmiedt

Robert Bennedsen was killed Sunday by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

Vashon Island has lost one of her best.

I remember Robert as an outstanding athlete, a state champion wrestler and record-setting football player, as well as one of the best young people I have ever met.

Among my memories of Robert is a running joke we had about my never showing his face in photos in The Beachcomber. Since he wrestled and played football, most of the action pictures I had of him showed a face-plant on a muddy football field or his face buried in an opposing wrestlers back.

Robert was also a Fire District Explorer, and from what I heard, one of the best there also.

I remember when Robert was credited with saving a pumper truck from serious damage. While preparing to hook the hose to a hydrant at a restaurant fire, He found gravel someone had apparently put in the hydrant. Had he not checked before hooking up the hose, the gravel would have destroyed the pump.

At a Pirate football game at North Mason I was taking pictures and trying to take notes on the game at the same time. Around the end of the first half I checked back through my notes to see if I was getting a cross section of the Pirate players and I realized that almost of the pictures were of Robert. That was the night he ran for more than 400 yards, still one of the top five games for all classifications in the state.

Robert was made an honorary member of the Othello High School wrestling team at the State Tournament one year.

Halfway through the championship round Othello and Mt. Baker were the only teams with a chance to win the State Championship. All the Othello wrestlers were done and a win by Mt. Bakers last competitor would give the Mountaineers the title. But the Mt. Baker wrestler had to defeat Vashons Robert Bennedsen.

Every Vashon, Othello and Mt. Baker fan was watching the mat. When Robert won, the Vashon and Othello fans exploded. At the awards ceremony the Othello team dragged Robert into their state championship team picture.

I read that the family has suggested that memorials go toward improving the high school football field. That would be a fitting memorial and lasting legacy for this outstanding Islander.

From Robert's Myspace page. Last Logon 07/10/10:

About me:
Im a grad from Seattle University, my major was marketing. im currently living in Amberg, germany and am stationed here with the 2nd Calvary. Im a Platoon leader and lovin it! im enjoying the change of life style for the time being, however i do miss home and being this far away is kind of a pain in the ass. the people here are really nice even though i only speek a couple words of german... the beer is kick ass and my place is just down the steet from some 300 year old churches in Amberg. the area and job should be fun for the next year or so before i deply to Afganistan in the Spring of 2010. Things I like to do. Lets see, scuba dive, sky dive, rock climb, ice climb, hike.. Just about anything. I grew up on a small island in the North West near Seattle, WA. Small Island, big hick town, I think everyone I know has a shot gun rack in their car/truck! I love working on cars, and had the opportunity the last couple years to build some 500+ horse power engines, and am now building a 1967 camaro RS/SS 5 speed for keeps, and no I dont drive an el Camino or have a mullet!, but that would be bad ass! i just enjoy kickin it with new people and making the best of things when i can.
Name: robert
Birthday: 06-18-1985
Birthplace: seattle washington
Current Location: seattle washington
Eye Color: blue
Hair Color: brown
Height: 5',8"
Right Handed or Left Handed: left
Your Heritage: Danish, Scottish, Irish
The Shoes You Wore Today: boots
Your Weakness: girls
Your Fears: Drowning
Your Perfect Pizza: thin and Cheesy
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year: pass classes
Your Most Overused Phrase On an instant messenger: yup
Thoughts First Waking Up: oh my god! please no.
Your Best Physical Feature: hehe for me to know
Your Bedtime: your time
Your Most Missed Memory: fishing with my dad
Pepsi or Coke: coke
MacDonalds or Burger King: MD
Single or Group Dates: single
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: nestea
Chocolate or Vanilla: vanilla
Cappuccino or Coffee: cappuccino
Do you Smoke: no
Do you Swear: fuck no
Do you Sing: to myself
Do you Shower Daily: yes
Have you Been in Love: yes
Do you want to go to College: i am
Do you want to get Married: some day
Do you belive in yourself: most of the time
Do you get Motion Sickness: no
Do you think you are Attractive: no
Are you a Health Freak: no
Do you get along with your Parents: yes
Do you like Thunderstorms: hell yes
Do you play an Instrument: no
In the past month have you Drank Alcohol: yes
In the past month have you Smoked: no
In the past month have you been on Drugs: no
In the past month have you gone on a Date: no
In the past month have you gone to a Mall: yes
In the past month have you eaten a box of Oreos: mini box
In the past month have you eaten Sushi: no
In the past month have you been on Stage: no
In the past month have you been Dumped: no
In the past month have you gone Skinny Dipping: no
In the past month have you Stolen Anything: no
Ever been Drunk: YES
Ever been called a Tease: no
Ever been Beaten up: yes
Ever Shoplifted: no
How do you want to Die: LARGE EXPLOSION
What do you want to be when you Grow Up: Caterpillar
What country would you most like to Visit: ireland
In a Boy/Girl..
Favourite Eye Color: any
Favourite Hair Color: any
Short or Long Hair: long
Height: 5' 4"
Weight: 110-135
Best Clothing Style: 
Number of Drugs I have taken: dont do drugs
Number of CDs I own: i have no idea
Number of Piercings: 0
Number of Tattoos: 0
Number of things in my Past I Regret: cant count

From Socnet website.

RIP 1LT Robert Bennedsen
I knew Rob as a smart kid when his dad and I worked together on patrol. Unlike a lot of cops kids, Rob had his shit together.

Rob was the Washington State 2A Wrestling Champ (160#) in 2004, and the apple of his fathers eye.

He was serving with the unit I served with in Iraq.

Toujours Pret LT Bennedsen
Government is an unregulated industry.

The 4 Soldierly Values: Candor, Courage, Competence, Commitment

Ekky Ekky Ekky Ekky p-Tang Zoo Boing mumble, mumble 

From The Seattle PI seattlepi.com 08/02/10:

Robert Bennedsen: Honoring a beloved native son

Monday, August 2, 2010 Last updated 9:30 a.m. PT


When Robert Bennedsen was 5, his mother discovered him in the backyard of their Dockton home one afternoon, using the blade from a hacksaw to try to topple a 100-year-old fir tree.

Im building a fort, he cheerfully told his mom, and this tree is in my way.

Such was the determination of Tracy and Scott Bennedsens only son, a smart, energetic and fun-loving boy who went on to become a star athlete at Vashon High School, win a full scholarship to Seattle University and lead a U.S. Army platoon in Afghanistan.

On July 18, three weeks into his first tour of duty in the war-torn country, Robert a first lieutenant in the 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment stepped on a roadside bomb and lost his life. He had just turned 25.

In the days since Roberts death, the first Island fatality from the nine-year Afghan conflict, the Bennedsen family home has been given over to impromptu gatherings, where friends, relatives and neighbors have come together to honor and remember this beloved native son.

There have been plenty of tears, Tracy Bennedsen said, but also laughter.

We have a lot of Robert stories, she said. Everybodys been laughing.

To those who know Robert well, the circumstances behind his death say much about how he lived his life. Roberts unit was stationed in Qalat and was charged with running supplies to remote outposts. It was during one of those runs that his convoy encountered trouble: The ambulance in front of his truck hit a roadside bomb and was thrown off course, though no one inside the vehicle was hurt.

Robert could have ordered someone from his unit to pull the damaged vehicle off to the side of the road, but instead he jumped out to help when another IED exploded and killed him.

It was his way to do it; he was always hands on. He was a real hero, said Kathleen Davis, a close friend of the family.

Tracy, his mother, agreed.

If hed been sitting in his vehicle and one of his boys had gotten blown up, that would have devastated him, she said.

Robert, born and raised on Vashon, attended Chautauqua Elementary School, The Harbor School, McMurray Middle School and Vashon High School. He graduated in 2004, after stellar football and wrestling careers that won him statewide recognition.

A running back, Robert ran for more than 400 yards in one game, a state record. He also won the state championship for wrestling in his weight class 160 pounds. He was a versatile athlete he played soccer and baseball and turned out for track one year. But football was his love, his mother said. When he graduated, he was named the high schools Scholar Athlete.

At 57, he wasnt a big guy, said Rick Sassara, one of his coaches who knew Robert well. Small of stature, huge of heart, he said, describing a young man who would sometimes appear at his doorstep with a bucket of Dungeness crab.

It was neat to see a kid that squared away, he added.

Robert was also an avid scuba diver who began diving at age 14, was a volunteer firefighter before he knew how to drive and loved repairing cars, his mother said.

He was so adventurous, she said.

Besides his parents, Robert leaves behind his sister Jamie Bennedsen of Tacoma, his grandmother Isabel Plancich of Vashon, Ole and Betty Bennedsen of Seattle and a large extended family.

A memorial service celebrating Robert Bennedsens life will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1, at the Vashon High School stadium. All are welcome.

In lieu of flowers, Islanders are asked to donate to the Vashon Bounty Club, which supports VHS football. Send donations to the Vashon Bounty Club, P.O. Box 621, Vashon, WA 98070.

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