Ranger Lavern “Ben” A. Defoe
Army Serial Number:
WWII Ranger Ben Defoe has moved forward to take the high ground. He was a hard charger and will be missed by all. For those who didn't know him, he was one of Darby's Rangers. He was severely wounded at Cisterna and evacuated shortly before his unit ( B Co. 3rd Bn ) and most of his buddies were wiped out.
Some of you may not know that Ben is probably the oldest Ranger to ever un-ass a perfectly good aircraft. Three years ago I had the opportunity to jump with him at a reunion in Minneapolis. We each did a tandem free fall from about 15,000 ft. with a local skydiving group, and Ben's daughter Barb jumped also. He jumped with his cowboy boots on (has anyone ever done THAT ??) and landed with a smile from ear to ear, wanting to do it again.
Later that evening after the banquet, MG David L. Grange pinned Ben's jump wings on him at age 81. He jumped again at another reunion at Ft. Lewis 2 years ago. The man had such a tremendous amount of '' Drive On!" in him. He told me stories of how he helped build the Grand Coulee Dam and worked as a lumberjack in his younger days. Driving a bulldozer where others wouldn't.....blasting rock and cutting roads thru timber. Helped build the Alaska pipeline. Ben "had wood" and went where few dared.
What an honor it was to know him.
Drink water, Ranger...
Paul Hickson B 2/75