Marine Captain Benjamin W. Sammis
Fallen: April 4, 2003
Marine Captain Benjamin W. Sammis was born in Providence, RI. He was assigned to the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in Camp Pendleton, CA. He became a RI fallen hero when his helicopter crashed near Ali Aziziyal, Iraq.
Captain Sammis was born in Providence and his parents fondly remember his passion for flying. They both state that their son “loved to fly and loved the Corps as much as life itself. Ben was a true patriot and made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. We will be forever proud of him and the character he held so true.” They ended their statement with, “To his fellow Marines: Semper Fi.” The Marine Corps slogan, Semper Fidelis, means “always faithful.”
Benjamin had dreamed of flying jets and helicopters since he was 10 years old. He earned his Wings of Gold in 1999, while flying F-18 jets. He also fed his need for speed by becoming a proficient sailor on Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay, near his boyhood home of Rehoboth, Mass. He graduated from Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School in 1992. While in high school, he was a starting sweeper for the soccer team, a member of the school chorus who won acceptance to the Southeastern Massachusetts District Choral. He was elected as an alternate to the annual Student Government Day. Few were surprised when the former Eagle Scout attended The Citadel military college. He graduated from the Citadel in 1996, completing the five-year bachelor’s degree program in civil engineering in four years. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in May 1996, where he qualified on both jet aircraft and helicopters. He was assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267 in November 1999 and graduated from the weapons and tactics instructor’s course in October 2002.
While growing up, he was an avid sailor and sailboat racer who sailed with his family on their boat. He was a current service member of the Barrington Yacht Club, a membership designation for those in military service. He had been an instructor in the club’s junior sailing program and had been invited as a crewmember on many of the club’s boats while racing in Narragansett Bay and in other local waters.
Captain Sammis became a fallen hero on April 4, 2004 when his helicopter crashed during combat. Besides his parents, he leaves a brother who lives in Freeport, Maine and a brother who lives in Raleigh, N.C. His wife of 18 months said: “Sometimes in life, you are lucky enough to find and marry your best friend. Ben and I were that lucky.”