Medic Benson injured in Afghanistan while giving aid

Published 3:38 pm Tuesday, July 28, 2009

SPC/Medic Charles Benson, grandson of Columbus and Tryon natives Mike and Hazel Gantt and the late O&squo;Neil and Nell Benson, was seriously injured in a firefight with Taliban insurgents Wednesday, July 8, south of Kabul.

His unit was on patrol looking for the kidnapped American soldier when they were ambushed by the Taliban. They were hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and gunfire.

Wounded in addition to SPC Benson were SFC Mark Allen, also a member of Bravo Company of the 2nd Battalion of the 121st Infantry, 48th Brigade Combat Team of the Georgia National Guard, and a California Guardsman.

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Benson and Allen had previously served together a year in Iraq.

Capt. Michael Persley, Bravo Company commander, said, &dquo;SPC/Medic Charles Benson showed exemplary courage as he treated SFC Allen&squo;s injuries even after he himself was wounded.&dquo;

SFC Mark Allen sustained critical head injuries from the RPG. SPC Benson continued to take fire while attending Sgt. Allen. He received serious wounds to both hands, a bullet wound to the hip, and several shrapnel wounds.

Both soldiers were transferred to the Landstuhl Germany Medical Treatment Center and later to the United States. The doctors in Germany were reportedly also very complimentary of the excellent care Medic Benson gave to SFC Allen, stating &dquo;they could not have done a better job themselves!&dquo;

SFC Allen is now in the head trauma unit at Bethesda Naval Hospital and was in critical but stable condition at last word. SPC Benson was sent to Eisenhower Army Hospital at Fort Gordon, Ga., and has since been transferred to Norwood VA Hospital in Augusta, Ga.

SPC/Medic Charles Benson is the son of Ken and Dawn Benson (nee Dawn Gantt) of Albany, Ga.

‐ submitted by Mike Gantt, Columbus