ORFORDVILLE (WKOW) -- Flags have been lowered to half-staff at Parkview High School in Orfordville, where 21-year-old Cpl. Benjamin Neal graduated in 2009.
School administrators said it was a small way to show their respect for the sacrifice Neal made for his country.
The 82nd Airborne Paratrooper was killed Wednesday in Afghanistan by an I.E.D. This was his second deployment.
Parkview School District Administrator Steve Lutzke said Neal was a leader and always had a lot of friends.
"Ben was very well liked, great personality, he know how to make people feel good, great sense of humor, zest for life," Lutzke told 27 News.
Lutzke said Ben was an avid wrester in high school and involved in agriculture. "He talked a lot about his desire to serve in the military, to help our country and help others," Lutzke said.
Neal's awards include the NATO Medal, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Combat Infantryman's Badge and the Parachutist Badge.
Lt. Col. Ced Carrington, the 1st Battalion Commander said, "Ben Neal was a charismatic, fun-loving Paratrooper whom I never saw frown. He took great pride in being a team leader and was respected by all of Battle Company and throughout the Battalion. Ben was a true Paratrooper in every sense of the word" said . "His loss will be sorely felt by his fellow Paratroopers and the entire 1st Battalion Family."
Neal's family flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to meet the body.
ORFORDVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- The Department of Defense says a 21-year-old Wisconsin soldier has died in Afghanistan.
Spc. Benjamin Neal of Orfordville died Wednesday in Kandahar province after enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
Neal was a 2009 graduate of Parkview Senior High School in Orfordville, about 10 miles west of Janesville, and was a high school wrestler.
District Administrator Steve Lutzke says Neal "just felt a need to serve" and went into the military after graduating.
Lutzke remembers Neal for his "wonderful personality" and his strong faith. He says Neal "took his wrestling seriously" and was the team leader.
Neal was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.
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