A1C Austin H Gates Benson, born June of 1990, of Hellertown, Pennsylvania, beloved son of Fredrick J Boenig and Joie M Gates.
In 2008, he graduated from Saucon Valley High School. He enlisted in the US Air Force shortly after graduation.
A1C Benson was attached to the 54th Combat Communications Squadron at the US Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. He deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was stationed at a remote combat outpost in Khyber, near the Pakistani border, where he was helping to establish communications. It was a region that had recently suffered civilian deaths in a Pakistani airstrike.
He believed wholeheartedly in the good the US military was doing in Afghanistan, but the horrors of war became too much for him.
A1C Austin H Gates Benson lost his battle with PTSD, May 3, 2010, near Khyber, Afghanistan, while serving during Operation Enduring Freedom. He was 19 years old.
This is the longest period without a U.S. military combat-zone death since 9/11