MARJAH, Afghanistan --
It started off like any other day for the Aurora, Ohio, native, Cpl. Amos T. Benjamin, an infantry-man with 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment.
“It couldn’t have been a better day for me,” said Amos. “I woke up, went to work and did a regular physical training session. We had new Marines on deck that just checked in from the School of Infantry [SOI], we were showing them the ropes and how things ran. It was just a regular day.”
While Amos was getting his new Marines acquainted with Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., his brother, Master Sgt. Adam F. Benjamin, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with EOD Company, 2nd Marine Division, was on the other side of the globe in Helmand province, Afghanistan, picking up the phone to call him.
“We talked with each other every day through various e-mails or any means of communication,” said Amos. “It was probably about 1400 when I got a phone call and it was my brother checking in with me. We talked and joked for an hour or two and the conversation ended with him saying ‘Hey man, I got to go I will talk to you later,’ nothing out of the ordinary.”
It was the last time Amos spoke to his brother.
“I remember the day perfectly,” said Amos. “If there is a day that is burned into my mind for ever; it’s that day.”
Approximately 100 miles north of where his brother was killed during combat operations, Amos sits in a tent here nearly one year later reliving the day, composed and confident.
“There is a special burning inside of me that I don’t think will ever go away that drove me to come here and honor my brother’s sacrifice and what he did for the Marine Corps. I wasn’t going to let anything stop me” said Amos.
Although the death of his brother was devastating to him, Amos said he didn’t let it keep him down. He views the deployment as another stepping stone towards closure and believes it was something his family needed as well.
“It was hard for my family. It took a lot of time back at home and a lot of talking to my parents,” said Amos. “The only reason I was going to stay at home is if my family wanted me to stay there. They were supportive and understood that this is what I want to do with my life and they understand that it’s not going to be the last deployment. They knew that I needed this for myself.”
U.S. Marine 1st Sgt. Dennis M. Bradley, non-kinetic fire support chief for 2/9, talked about how Amos was a tough person to tell he wasn’t going to do something.
“Cpl. Benjamin is not the type of guy that’s going to take special treatment,” said Bradley. “He’s not the type of guy that’s going to ride a desk in the rear rather than do what he came here to do; which is lead Marines.”
Once Amos arrived here, his reputation for professionalism and drive landed him the position of camp police sergeant.
“They put him to work here because they needed someone to help run the FOB,” said Bradley. “It probably wasn’t ideally what he wanted to do but he is the type of guy that’s going to take any type of duties he is given, get it done and go above and beyond what people expect.”
Amos said the billet has given him another perspective on a different side of the Marine Corps.
“In the beginning when they told me I was going to be police sergeant I was like, ‘You have got to be out of your mind,’” said Amos as he laughed. “But over time I have learned a lot. I never knew how a Headquarters and Service company worked. Especially out at all of the line companies where you have the mentality, ‘Man, those guys are all at the main FOB eating all the good chow,’ it’s not the case at all. We work just as hard here just in a different aspect.”
Once the opportunity presented itself, Amos multi-tasked his police sergeant duties and began planning security patrols outside the main FOB and took every chance he got to engage the local populace.
“I have my police sergeant duties but I also run patrols out of here,” said Amos. “Depending on what kind of day it is out on a patrol I could come back to a stack load of work that I still have to get done.”
Although the position wasn’t exactly what he was looking for, Amos said he loves what he is doing and knows his brother is watching over him.
“There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about my brother and I ask myself, ‘what would he want me to do,’” said Amos, “That’s a lot of what I put into my day. When I get tired I ask myself, ‘What would he want me do?’ When I get down on myself I know he’s up there saying, ‘Dude quit acting like that, keep your head up and keep pushing.’”