KIA November 10, 2012
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to 3rd Ordnance Battalion (EOD), Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
SSG Kenneth “Wade” Bennett, a bomb disposal expert supporting a Special Operations unit in Sperwan Gar, Afghanistan, died from injuries he sustained on November 10, 2012 as he was attempting to defuse an improvised explosive device (IED). Wade was on his third tour in Afghanistan when he was killed.
Wade’s training really began back when he was growing up as a car mechanic’s son in Glendora, California. “He kind of grew up in a put-it-together house,” close friend Bob Jennings recalled, “Always tinkering, making things work.” That had made Wade a natural at the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Basic School in Florida where he arrived in 2006. Back in Washington, Wade met and married nurse Mandi Foster. Mandi became pregnant with their second child just before his third deployment and just before setting off again, his eldest, Lila, told her daddy, “No bye bye. Don’t go away.” He replied, “One more time, honey.”
SSG Bennett wore an EOD patch on his uniform with prestige; one of those extraordinarily rare brave souls willing to sacrifice the ultimate price for allegiance. SSG Bennett was no stranger to what bomb disposal experts call “the lonely walk” toward an active IED. He had made this walk many times in his three deployments and his motivation remained as simple as it was noble. It was what makes the EOD patch a true badge of honor. He only had to be told that he was needed and a grace would descend upon him. He would once more become a figure made holy by another demonstration of that greatest love.
“To touch something that was meant to cause death and destruction and overcome it, to deny it is the most amazing feeling.”- Anonymous EOD Tech
SSG Kenneth Wade Bennett was 26 years old from Glendora, California.
Original portrait was presented on November 11, 2015 to his family during a private event in City of Industry, CA, hosted by Fleetwood-Fibre. Presented by Land of the Free Foundation.
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