Jul 4th 1973 – Apr 23rd 2011
Master Sergeant Benjamin F Bitner, 37, of Jackson Springs, NC, was killed in action Saturday, April 23, 2011, in Afghanistan. Master Sgt. Bitner was serving with 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) as the ODA 3236 Team Sergeant, and had been deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom since March 2011. It was his tenth operational deployment. Born July 4, 1973, in Hagerstown, Maryland, he was the son of Roger and Beverly Bitner of Greencastle, Pa. He is a 1991 graduate of Greencastle Antrim High School.
Master Sgt. Bitner enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1991 and graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course as an engineer sergeant in 2000. He served in a variety of assignments to include assault team member for Company B, 2d Battalion, 3d Special Forces Group (Airborne) and senior Special Forces engineer sergeant, intelligence sergeant, and team sergeant for Company C, 2d Battalion, 3d Special Forces Group (Airborne).
Master Sgt. Bitner’s military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (6), Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Army Commendation Medal (3) with “V” device, Army Achievement Medal (3), Army Good Conduct Medal (4), Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (3), National Defense Service Medal (2), Kosovo Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, Iraq Campaign Medal with one campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Non-commissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon (3), Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal (4), Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Valorous Unit Award, Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Parachutists Badge, Military Free-Fall Badge.
Ben is remembered as a great leader and also as a loving father, husband, and son. He was an avid outdoors sportsman who loved climbing, hunting, camping, and. mountain biking. He was also a dedicated soldier who devoted his life to his family and the United States Army.
Ben will be greatly missed by his family. He is survived by his wife, April Bitner and children, Gunnar and Rogue; as well as his parents, Beverly and Roger Bitner, Grandma Millie, Brother Brian Bitner his wife and sons.