November 21, 2012

The Last Lonely Walk

Staff Sgt. Kenneth Wade Bennett, a bomb disposal expert, was on his third tour in Afghanistan. It proved to be his last. 

Bomb Disposal Expert Takes His Last ‘Lonely Walk’

 Bennett And Daughter

Bennett was on his third combat tour there and this time he had left behind a pregnant wife and a 2-year-old daughter. ...

“No bye bye, Daddy,” the girl said. “Don’t go away.”

“One more time, honey,” he told her.

As he spoke he had a patch on his uniform that is more respected in the military than four stars even before the scandal. The patch read EOD and it identified him as an explosive ordnance disposal technician, one of those extraordinarily brave souls such as are depicted in the movie The Hurt Locker.

Two months after that walk with little Lila across a parking lot near his unit’s headquarters in Fort Lewis, Wash., he was making that loneliest of walks into the most mortal danger in Afghanistan. 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.

Whatever the status of the war, whatever the latest American geopolitical objectives, whatever the outcome of the presidential election, whatever the behavior of generals, Bennett routinely faced sudden and incredibly violent death with the single and singular goal of saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. He had only to be told that he was needed and a grace would descend on him. He would once more become a figure made scruffily holy by another demonstration of that greatest love.

Posted by Jill Fallon at November 21, 2012 10:45 AM | Permalink