2 Fort Benning soldiers die in Afghanistan attack

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COLUMBUS, Ga. — Two servicemen assigned to Fort Benning in western Georgia were among a group of soldiers who were killed during an attack in Afghanistan, military officials said Tuesday.

The Department of Defense identified the soldiers with Georgia ties as Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, 25, of Carlisle, Penn. and Pfc. Cody J. Patterson, 24, of Philomath, Ore.

Both were assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning.

Hawkins and Patterson were among four soldiers who were killed Oct. 6, when enemy forces attacked their unit in the Kandahar Province with an improvised explosive device during Operation Enduring Freedom, military officials said.

Hawkins had been deployed to Afghanistan four times and was awarded several military honors including the U.S. Army Expert Rifle Marksmanship Qualification Badge, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the NATO Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

“Sgt. Patrick Hawkins was a brave and incredibly talented Ranger,” Lt. Col. Patrick J. Ellis, Commander of 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment said in a statement Tuesday. “He was moving to the aid of a wounded Ranger when he was killed. His actions that night were in keeping with the epitome of the Ranger Creed: ‘I will never leave a fallen comrade.”

Hawkins has been posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and a Purple Heart, Fort Benning officials said. Hawkins is survived by his wife and parents.

Patterson was born in Corvallis, Ore. and had been deployed to Afghanistan twice, Fort Benning officials said.

“Pfc. Cody Patterson had a limitless future,” Col. Christopher S. Vanek, commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment, said in a statement. “He would have been successful in whatever path he had chosen in life. He chose to serve his country by volunteering for the most difficult and challenging duties of a United States Army Ranger.”

Ellis called Patterson “the poster child for the Ranger Regiment,” and Fort Benning officials said his awards included the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Patterson is survived by his parents and sister.

The other two soldiers who were killed in the attack were 1st Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno, 25, of San Diego, Calif., and Sgt. Joseph M. Peters, 24, of Springfield, Mo.


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