Benjamin P Castiglione
September 3, 2009
Killed while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
|Posted: Saturday, 05 September 2009 10:50AM
Howell Sailor Killed In Afghanistan
A Howell sailor who served in Iraq for seven months and arrived in Afghanistan in June has been killed while supporting combat operations there.
The Department of Defense says Petty Officer 3rd Class Benjamin P. Castiglione died Thursday during operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The hospital corpsman was assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Battalion.
The 21-year-old Castiglione joined the Navy in November 2006, served in Iraq from March to October 2008.
Castiglione, who was single, was the second Michigan soldier to die in Afghanistan in less than a week. Army Pfc. Eric Hario, a 19-year-old Army Ranger from Monroe, died Aug. 29 in Paktika province.
|Requiem for a hero
BY CHRISTOPHER BEHNAN • DAILY PRESS & ARGUS • September 11, 2009
The sun broke through the trees and a large crowd fell silent early Thursday evening as U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Ben Castiglione received complete military honors in his hometown before being laid to rest., 21, was killed last week in Afghanistan and saluted by family and friends Thursday on the south side of MacDonald's Funeral Home in Howell, adjacent to McPherson Park.
A line of servicemembers, veterans and others lined the sides of Castiglione's casket holding American flags throughout the ceremony, which included a Marine rifle salute and the playing of "Taps" by a Navy officer.
The roughly 45-minute ceremony followed a welcoming of friends and family at the funeral home, and preceded a reception at the American Legion Club in Howell Township.
Friends stood in both business attire and street clothes to pay respect to Castiglione, at least the 10th person with ties to Livingston County to die in action in Iraq and Afghanistan since conflicts in both countries began.
Jason Adams came from Myrtle Beach, S.C., to Howell to attend his stepbrother's funeral.
Adams said Castiglione was a dedicated military man, citing his stepbrother's receipt of the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for superior performance of duties during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"He loved his job and had a great sense of humor. He will be very greatly missed," he said.
"He believed in what he was doing. He was just a great guy," Adams added.
Hannah Brogger, girlfriend to Castiglione's stepbrother, Jordan Matheny, shared similar thoughts.
Brogger only occasionally saw Castiglione, but said his joking, fun persona was immediately obvious.
"He was always very charismatic," she said.
Thursday's ceremony followed an escort Wednesday of the hearse carrying the fallen hospitalman as it made its way from Flint through downtown Howell. The escort was led by the Patriot Guard Riders of Michigan.
Some friend stayed behind after the family, military and others dispersed from Thursday's ceremony
Longtime friend Brandon Eroh attended school with Castiglione from the elementary grades through their graduation from Howell High School in 2006.
Eroh, who has a brother in the Army Reserves, said Castiglione's sacrifice demonstrates the sacrifice young people are making to protect America.
"I always remember him being a nice guy. I never heard anything bad said about him," Eroh said.
Family friend Greg Earlam watched his son grow up with Castiglione in the Howell area. The two boys, roughly the same age, took tae kwon do lessons together as kids.
"It was very, very sad and very respectful," Earlam said of the ceremony.
Castiglione was killed last week, reportedly in Helmand province, Afghanistan, as the result of the detonation of an improvised explosive device.
He joined the Navy as a Marine fleet force corpsman on Halloween 2006. A hospitalman is to the Navy what a medic is to the Army. Because the Marine Corps is a component of the U.S. Department of the Navy, Marines pull their medical personnel from the Navy to treat wounded Marines in the field.
Contact Daily Press & Argus reporter Christopher Behnan
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