Dad Told Son Killed by 'Friendly Fire' in Afghanistan: Report

Lance Cpl. Benjamin Whetstone Schmidt died Oct. 6

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The father of a Camp Pendleton Marine believes his son died in a “friendly fire” incident, according to a published report. The Marine Corps told NBC San Diego the incident is still under investigation.

    “I've been kicked in the gut again,” Dr. David Schmidt told the San Antonio Express-News.

    Lance Cpl. Benjamin Whetstone Schmidt , 24, of San Antonio, Texas died Oct. 6 while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. Marine Corps.

    Schmidt told the paper he was contacted by a Marine who said his son died during a firefight on a ridge in the Helmand province.

    “What I've been told is that a tank platoon came upon them, mistook them for the bad guys and opened fire on the entire platoon. And that's how Benjamin died,” Schmidt told the paper.

    Moments later he says he received another call.

    This time from a reporter with the Wall Street Journal who had attended his son's memorial service in Afghanistan. The reporter conveyed a similar story, according to the paper.

    A public affairs spokesman from Camp Pendleton said he was aware of the report in the San Antonio Express-News, but that the investigation was ongoing.

    Schmidt told the paper that he doesn't think the military is trying to cover anything up.

    “War is hell,” he said.