Central Pa. Marine killed in Afghanistan riffed on movies, gave respect to all

"He never treated you like a subordinate. You were always an equal and friend.”

  • David Wenner, PennLive

(York) — Marine Sergeant Ben Hines of York County was known for an upbeat attitude and respect he extended to others, according to a profile in Stars and Stripes, a news outlet devoted to the U.S. military community.

The publication quoted Marine veteran Sam Belli of Pipersville in Bucks County, who said: “He was all around a great guy with an upbeat attitude who loved the Corps through and through … He never treated you like a subordinate. You were always an equal and friend.”

Hines was among three Marines who died Monday after a road side bombing in Afghanistan. All three were expected to return home from Afghanistan within days, according to Stars and Stripes. They had been in Afghanistan since October.

The other Marines killed Monday were Staff Sgt. Christopher K.A. Slutman, 43, of Newark, Del. and Cpl. Robert A. Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, N.Y.

Hines and Slutman were assigned to a unit based in Harrisburg, and Slutman’s parents live in York County. All were members of the 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division.

The 31-year-old Hines’ devotion to the Marines had long roots. He was a member of the Marine Corps Junior ROTC unit at Dallastown Area High School, where he graduated in 2006. He and another student were appointed commanders of the unit, which had just been launched at the school in York County, according to Ron Dyer, the district superintendent. Hines also played football at Dallastown.

Rahmat Gul / The Associated Press

Afghan security forces gather at the site of Monday’s attack near the Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Three American service members and a U.S. contractor were killed when their convoy hit a roadside bomb on Monday near the main U.S. base in Afghanistan, the U.S. forces said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Belli told Stars and Stripes that Hines was known for his funny takes on movie lines, which helped to “get everyone’s morale and attitude back on track.”

Belli’s brother, John, also served with Hines and called him “a natural born leader.”

“He was very attentive to his Marines and always put everyone else’s needs first,” the 29-year-old told Stars and Stripes.

Stars and Stripes reported that Hines earned honors including a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, two Iraq Campaign Medals and a Meritorious Mast signifying noteworthy performance.

Slutman was born in York County but grew up in Maryland. He lived in Newark, Delaware, with his wife, Shannon, and their three daughters.

The publication reported that other Marines had long kidded Slutman about his age. But Slutman, also a New York City firefighter, would challenge them to keep up with him.

Kyle Moyer, a Marine veteran from Morgantown, Pa., described Hines and Slutman as close.

“I just really hurt for their families,” Moyer told Stars and Stripes. “I’m really sad. If their families need anything, myself and other Marines, we’ll be willing to do anything to help them.”

 

 PennLive and The Patriot-News are partners with PA Post.

 

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