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

Benjamin H Todd

Colville, Washington

January 26, 2009

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
29 Army CW2

6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division

Fort Drum, New York

 Died from wounds suffered when two OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters crashed Jan. 26 in Kirkuk, Iraq.

For Memorial Service Snapshots, Click photo below

February 6, 2009

They Came To Honor Our Hero. Click photo below.

February 6, 2009

Chief Warrant Officer 
BENJAMIN HARRIS TODD

CW2 Benjamin Harris Todd, a past resident of Colville, Washington, passed away while serving his country on January 26, 2009 in Kirkuk, Iraq. Ben was born October 4, 1979 in Colville, the son of Alan B. Wiley and Marti Todd.

Ben enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 22, 1999 and was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia serving two tours in Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment. He was then selected to attend Warrant Officer Candidate School at Fort Rucker, Alabama. There he began his helicopter pilot training. Upon graduation Ben was stationed at Fort Drum, New York where he flew the OH-58 Kiowa helicopter with Bravo Troop “Pale Riders”, 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, of the 10th Mountain Division. Ben was deployed to serve overseas in Operation Iraqi Freedom on October 20, 2008. While deployed he was involved in a helicopter crash in which he lost his life.

Ben lived in Orient, WA until the age of ten when his family moved to Colville and where he completed his education in 1997. While home on leave in 2004, he met Shelly Gordon at a New Year’s Eve Party. Their budding love led to a four-month courtship and marriage on April 29, 2005 at the V.F.W. Legion Hall in Colville followed by a honeymoon in Disney World. Following his June 2007 graduation from flight school the couple moved to Carthage, NY. Ben and Shelly enjoyed time with their dogs and sharing Friday “date nights” with dinner and a movie. Their love blessed them with a daughter Ashlyn Joy in April of 2008. 

Ben loved to ride dirt motorcycles and four-wheelers. He found his first inspiration in helicopter flight school, his first love with his wife, and his greatest love with his family at the birth of his daughter Ashlyn. He was a young man defined by his loyalty to God, family and country. He is a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, grandson, friend and hero who will be greatly missed.

Ben is survived by his wife Shelly Todd and their daughter Ashlyn both of Colville, Washington; mother, Marti Todd, Colville; father, Alan Wiley, Orient, WA; brother Nick Todd and wife Betty, Princeton, KY and their son Noah; brother Daniel Todd, Taiwan; grandmother Joyce Todd-McPhee, Colville; uncles Bob Todd, Colville, Tom Todd and wife Patti, Colville, Jim Todd and wife Linda, Hawaii; step-aunt, Heather Ruskievicz and husband Steve, Colville; parents-in-law John and June Gordon, Colville; siblings-in-law Shannon Gordon, Colville, Lance Gordon and wife Laurie, Montesano, WA, Kelly Gordon and wife, Rebecca, Kettle Falls, Sharon Schneider and husband, Michael, Otis Orchards; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins; and trusted family dog, Cheyenne.

A funeral service will be held for Benjamin H. Todd at 11:00 a.m., Friday, February 6, 2009 at the Colville Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. A graveside service will follow at Mountain View Park Cemetery in Colville. Please visit the on-line memorial and sign the guest book at www.danekasfuneralchapel.com . Memorial contributions may be given to the organizations that support military families. Danekas Funeral Chapel and Crematory is in charge of the arrangements. 

From Watertown Daily Times watertowndailytimes.com 01/30/09:

Army names all four pilots killed in copter crash
By SARAH M. RIVETTE
TIMES STAFF WRITER
FRIDAY, JANUARY 30, 2009

The Army has identified the four soldiers who died in a helicopter crash in northern Iraq on Monday as 10th Mountain Division helicopter pilots.

All four pilots are being awarded the Bronze Star posthumously for acts of valor in combat.

The families of Chief Warrant Officer Philip E. Windorski Jr. and Chief Warrant Officer Matthew G. Kelley came forward to the news media earlier this week. The Army identified the other two pilots Thursday as Chief Warrant Officer Joshua M. Tillery, 31, from Beaverton, Ore., and Chief Warrant Officer Benjamin H. Todd, 29, from Colville, Wash.

All four pilots were with the 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade. They flew OH-58D Kiowa Warriors, two-seat, armed reconnaissance helicopters. They deployed in October with the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade.

The crash happened at 2:15 a.m. Baghdad time Monday about 20 miles south of Kirkuk, Iraq. An investigation into the cause is ongoing, but military officials have discounted the possibility of an enemy attack.

Chief Warrant Officer Tillery joined the Army in 1995 and became a helicopter pilot in 2003. He came to Fort Drum in 2004 to fly the Kiowa Warriors and deployed with the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade to Iraq for 11 months in 2005 and 2006. Among his awards are two Army Commendation Medals, six Army Achievement Medals, the Air Medal, the Air Assault Badge and the Army Aviator Badge. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Chief Warrant Officer Todd joined the Army in 2000 and became a pilot in 2005. He arrived at Fort Drum in 2007. This was his first deployment to Iraq and he had not been deployed to Afghanistan. His awards include the National Defense Service Medal, the Parachutist Badge and the Expert Infantry Badge. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Chief Warrant Officer Windorski, known as “Ski,” joined the Army in 1991 and became a Kiowa Warrior pilot in 1999. He deployed for an extended 16-month tour to Iraq from 2003 to 2004 and was assigned to Fort Drum in 2007. He also deployed to Bosnia for five months following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. His awards include two Air Medals, five Army Commendation Medals, two Presidential Unit Citations and the Senior Army Aviator Badge.

He is survived by his wife, Karin. J., and three children, Miranda, 14, Austin, 9 and Emmalyn, 6, who live in the area.

“My husband was proud to be in the military, but he loved being an aviator,” Mrs. Windorski said Thursday. “But once he was out of that uniform, he was all about his family. He loved us and he was a devoted husband and my best friend.”

As a father, he spent time with his children and helped coach football and baseball. His wife said that he was famous for his home-brewed beer and it was his hope to open a microbrewery after retiring from the military.

His mother, Ruth Windorski, said that being in the Army “was all he ever he wanted to do, and he died doing what he truly loved.”

Chief Warrant Officer Kelley joined the Army in March 2003 and became a pilot in 2005. He came to Fort Drum in 2007 to fly the Kiowa Warrior. He had one previous deployment to Iraq from 2003 to 2004. His awards include the Global War on Terror Service Medal, the Army Service Medal and the Parachutist Badge. He is survived by his wife, DaLana and two children, Megan, 6, and Tyler, 4.

His father, retired Col. Stephen H. Kelley, said that his son was born to be a helicopter pilot and all he wanted to do was fly. He made the decision not to go to college, which would have made him a commissioned officer, and instead trained as a warrant officer so he could get more flight time, his father said.

“I think he really found his niche, and it was the right place for him to be,” Mr. Kelley said. “He was doing what he wanted to do, and when he died he died doing what he loved. He was protecting our freedoms and fulfilling a lifelong dream.”

The four pilots are the first 10th Mountain Division soldiers to die in Iraq since Sept. 2, when Pfc. Patrick W. May, 22, died of non-combat-related injuries.

The crash is the largest loss of American life in Iraq since a helicopter crash in September that killed seven soldiers. That crash was not caused by enemy activity.

From The Spokesman-Review spokesman.com 01/30/09:

Colville man died in Iraq copter crash
Pilot Benjamin Todd was husband, father
From staff and wire reports

A Colville man was one of four soldiers killed when two helicopters crashed Monday in northern Iraq.

Chief Warrant Officer Benjamin H. Todd, 29, was flying one of the Kiowa Warrior helicopters that crashed in Iraq’s Tamim province.

Todd was married and had a child, the Defense Department said in the statement.

Todd attended Colville High School from 1996 to 1998, Principal Kevin Knight said.

He enlisted in the Army in 2000 and was stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y., in 2007 as a Kiowa helicopter pilot, the Defense Department statement said. Todd was deployed in Iraq last October.

The armed reconnaissance helicopters that crashed early Monday morning. U.S. military officials in Iraq said the crash did not “appear to be by enemy action.”

They didn’t say whether the helicopters collided.

A Sunni insurgent group claimed that it shot down the helicopters, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The group, the Army of the Men of al-Nakshabandia Order, made the claim on a Web site but said they had shot down two Blackhawk helicopters with rockets and killed more than 20 people.

The Kiowa is a smaller helicopter, and while the Army said the crashes remained under investigation, they reiterated that enemy fire did not appear to be involved.

Investigations into helicopter crashes typically take weeks or months, not days, said a spokeswoman for Fort Drum, where all four soldiers were based.

Also killed were Chief Warrant Officer Joshua M. Tillery, 31, of Beaverton, Ore.; Chief Warrant Officer Philip E. Windorski Jr., 35, of Bovey, Minn.; and Chief Warrant Officer Matthew G. Kelley, 30, of Cameron, Mo.

All four have been awarded the Bronze Star, spokeswoman Julie Cupernall added.

All were pilots assigned to the 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, based in Fort Drum.

The Kiowa is a two-pilot aircraft, used primarily for gathering information from the air for ground troops.

The aircraft is also used to carry small numbers of soldiers, for emergency evacuations of wounded people and for delivering cargo.

From The Seattle PI seattlepi.com 02/02/09:

Flags at half-staff for Army CWO Benjamin H. Todd of Colville

To honor an Army helicopter pilot from Colville who was killed in Iraq last week, Gov. Christine Gregoire has ordered flags at state buildings to be flown at half-staff on Tuesday.

Chief Warrant Officer Benjamin H. Todd, 29, was flying one of two armed reconnaissance Kiowa Warrior helicopters that crashed Jan. 26 in Iraq's Tamim province, nearly 20 miles west of Kirkuk. He was among four soldiers from Fort Drum, N.Y's Bravo Troop "Pale Riders," 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division.

It was the largest single American military loss of life in one day since seven members of the armed forces were killed last September in a helicopter crash.

Todd, who became an Army Ranger before he was a helicopter pilot, previously served two tours of duty in Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

In his spare time, Todd loved to ride dirt-motocycles and four-wheelers and "was a young man defined by his loyalty to God, family and country." his family wrote in the obituary.

A funeral for Todd is scheduled for Fri., Feb. 6, 11 at Colville Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. A graveside service will follow at Mountain View Park Cemetery, Colville.
Todd is survived by his wife, Shelly, and their daughter, Ashley.

And he is one of two soldiers connected to Washington's hometowns or military bases to die in Iraq in January.

A Fort Lewis soldier, Sgt. Kyle J. Harrington, 24, of Swansea, Mass., was killed Jan. 24 in Basra, of non-hostile causes from an accident in his unit's motor pool, the Defense Department said.
Harrington, who joined the Army in May 2004, was a light-wheel vehicle mechanic with the 542nd Maintenance Company, 80th Ordnance Battalion, 593rd Sustainment Brigade, with which he had served a previous tour of duty in Iraq in 2005.

Their deaths were the first fatalities from Washington in Iraq since September.

To date, 275 men and women in the armed forces with Washington connections have died in Iraq since the U.S. led invasion of March 2003. They are among 4,235 members of the U.S. armed forces nationwide who have died there since the war began nearly six years ago.

Todd grew up in Orient, Wa. until age 10 when his family moved to Colville.

The Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times, said Todd, the son of Alan B. Wiley and Marti Todd of Colville, attended Colville High School from 1996 to 1998.

A Danekas Funeral Chapel obituary said he joined the Army in March 1999, becoming a Ranger based at Fort Benning, Ga. and serving twice in Afghanistan.
Todd met his wife, Shelly Gordon, while home on leave in 2004 at a New Year's Eve Party. They were married four-months later on April. 29, 2005 at the VFW Hall in Colville.

"Ben and Shelly enjoyed time with their dogs and sharing Friday "date nights" with dinner and a movie. Their love blessed them with a daughter Ashlyn Joy in April of 2008," the obituary said.

In 2005, Todd was selected to attend Warrant Officer Candidate School at Fort Rucker, Ala., where he began training to fly OH-58 Kiowa helicopters. Upon Todd's graduation in 2007, the couple moved to Carthage, N.Y. near Fort Drum. Todd deployed to Iraq with his unit last October.

Gregoire, meanwhile, said flags lowered to honor Todd should remain at half-staff until sunset Tuesday, or first thing Wednesday morning, Feb. 4.

The U.S. Flag Code was amended by Congress to grant governors the authority to lower flags when a state resident in the military is killed in the line of duty.
Posted by Mike Barber at February 2, 2009 5:41 p.m.

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