Captain Ben Sammis
Ben is one of three sons (the middle son) we raised here in Rehoboth. He attended our schools -- K thru 12. He was a 1992 Graduate (with Honors) from the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School. While at D-R Ben was active in the school's drama club and chorus. He represented D-R at the Massachusetts State Legislature - Student Government Day. He was a D-R "PeerLeader" setting the example for support of peer guidance and a drug/alcohol free school.
Ben attended a Science and Engineering summer program at the United States Naval Academy between his Junior and Senior year. Here, he got a taste of the midshipman life. His (Charlie) company received Color Company Commendations.
He was a Center Full Back on the school's soccer team. As gentle as he was as a young man, he was feared and revered for his soccer skills, stamina, and sportsmanship. He was a recipient of: Most Valuable Player and Sportsmanship Awards.
Ben was a very active Boy Scout and Explorer, a member of the Order of the Arrow and, an Eagle Scout.
As a member of the Barrington Yacht Club, Ben earned numerous club awards, and several Narragansett Bay Yachting Association (NBYA) Junior Class (sailing) championship titles racing Sunfish, 420's and Laser's. He represented NBYA at the Regional Smyth Eliminations two years in a row. As Ben developed as a racing sailor, he also developed as an instructor and coach. A versatile sailor, Ben held a reputation for his competitive skills and rules knowledge. He taught both, junior and adult sailing at two bay area yacht clubs. Beyond this however, Ben was known for having a quality for sportsmanship, which along with his love of the sport and attitude, were inspirational to those he coached and taught. It is said he would encourage his students -- children and adults -- "to see beyond their imperfections, reach beyond their expectations and to have fun in the process".
Ben was a 1996 Graduate of the Citadel earning a civil engineering degree and, commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. From here he followed his life long dream for combat aviation, earning his "Wings of Gold" in April, 1999; 1st in class and among the top 3% of all designated naval pilots.
Ben was assigned to HMLA 267 flying the AH-1W Super Cobra. He was a designated Weapons and Tactical Instructor - kind of the Top Gun for helicopter attack pilots. Ben's unit deployed to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom where, in the early morning hours of 5 April 2003, while flying close air support for fellow marines "in extremis", he was killed in action.
Ben's citations and commendations listed in order of precedence are:
- Purple heart Medal for wounds received in action against the enemy on 5 April 2003, posthumously.
- Air Medal W/ one Bronze Star, Combat "V", and Bronze Numeral "2".
- Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal for service during the period of 7 may to 29 July 2001
- Presidential Unit Citation awarded to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Division for service 21 March to 29 April 2003.
- Meritorious Unit Commendation awarded to the 1st Marine Air Wing for service during 9 August 2000 to 6 May 2002.
- National Defense Medal.
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service in Operation Southern Watch - USS Boxer, 2001.
- Iraq Campaign Medal.
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
- Sea Service Deployment Ribbon W/ one Bronze Star.
- Rifle Expert
- Pistol Expert
Ben's was recognized by the Boston Celtics Basketball Organization in November 2004 where they designated him a "Hero Among Us" , an award presented posthumously in recognition of his service to his country and who he was as a person.
There are two scholarship's given annually at the Citadel in his name; one by the engineering department and one endowed from donations made in his honor.
The Barrington Yacht Club established an award in his name given annually to a junior sailor whose enthusiasm, sportsmanship and character best exemplifies the qualities Ben held.
A recent quote about Ben summarizes how he lived his life: "Ben Sammis loved life and, at every turn of life's journey and, with all whom he came in contact, sought to impart the positive of Life's Lessons. he was true to the Marine Corps Slogan - Semper Fidelis."