Marine from Camp Pendleton killed in Afghanistan
Lance Cpl. Benjamin Whetstone Schmidt, 24, of San Antonio was killed Thursday in Helmand province. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment.
More than 50 Marines from Camp Pendleton have been killed in Afghanistan.
Schmidt’s father, Dr. David Schmidt, an orthopedic surgeon, is the team physician for the San Antonio Spurs basketball team. His mother, marriage and family therapist Becky Whetstone, is a former columnist for the San Antonio Express-News.
Schmidt was on his second deployment to Afghanistan. A high school football player, he was attending Texas Christian University when he abruptly left college and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2008.
“He came home and said, ‘I want to join the Marines,' ” his father told KSAT-TV. “And I said, ‘The hell you are!' and he goes, ‘I already have.’ ”
His mother said Schmidt was excited about finishing his enlistment in May and returning to college to become a history professor. “He was special,” she said.
Before deploying, Schmidt instructed his family that if he was killed he wanted to be buried at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.
“We talked long about those things before he left,” his mother said.
--Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: Lance Cpl. Benjamin Schmidt. Credit: Facebook