A town celebrates the return of a son

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:47

    BYRAM-Flags of all sizes billowed in the wind to welcome home Corporal Kyle Benz. The 22-year-old marine from West Brookwood was greeted by rows of trees wrapped with yellow ribbons and a neon greeting sign from the township police. Benz returned on Monday, Feb. 21, from a seven-month tour of duty in Iraq, of which four months were spent on a special mission in Fallujah. Benz, a 2001 graduate of Lenape Valley High School, was a basketball player who earned all conference honors. His father, Danny Benz, said that his son as a young boy always had an interest in the service. After graduation, the younger Benz went on to Kutztown University where he played rugby, but after one year, he concluded that college was not for him and decided to join the Marines. "I think he only went to college to please his parents," reflected his father. Kyle did his boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina in January 2003, where he graduated at the top of that class. He was awarded sharpshooter medal and scored first in physical training. At Camp Lejeune, North Carolina he received his Marine Combat Training and the was assigned to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for artillery school where he graduated second in his class and was promoted to Lance Corporal. After serving an eight-month tour of duty in Japan, Benz started training for duty in Iraq in April of last year. During that time he was promoted to corporal and was deployed to Iraq on Sept. 7, 2004. While in Iraq, he was involved with the battle of Fallujah. Kyle is planning to apply for the military security guard program which will enable him to guard embassies around the world. If accepted, he would have to add another year or two to his term of duty. He is looking at his military career as a stepping stone to a high security job when he leaves the Marines, but before that, there is still a chance that he might have to return to Iraq in six months. The family has lived in Byram since 1978. Younger sister, Shalynn, a sophomore at Alvernia College in Reading, Penn., and older brother, Sean, who is attending graduate school in San Diego working towards teaching certification, will join parents, Danny and Maureen, this weekend to spend time with their brother. "All of our prayers have been answered," said Danny Benz, Kyle's father. "We are just so happy and extremely proud of Kyle."