A Fort Benning soldier has died from injuries sustained less than two weeks ago during combat operations in southern Afghanistan.
Cpl. Benjamin Stephen Kopp, 21, a rifleman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment based at Fort Benning, was with his unit on July 10 when it attacked a Taliban safe haven. The Rangers fought the militants from multiple directions for several hours, resulting in the killing of more than 10 Taliban fighters, according to military reports.
Kopp, who was seriously wounded during the fire fight, was evacuated through Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany to the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, where he later died as a result of his wounds, according to a news release.
“Cpl. Kopp gave his life fighting against a tenacious, malevolent and determined enemy during a sustained fire fight, under incredibly difficult conditions, with his fellow Rangers,” Col. Richard D. Clarke, commander, 75th Ranger Regiment, said in a release. “His actions on that day are in keeping with the finest traditions of the 75th Ranger Regiment and his loss will be felt by all.”
Lt. Col. Daniel R. Walrath, 3-75 Ranger Regiment battalion commander, said in a release, “Ranger Kopp was a best friend to everyone in his platoon and he never hesitated to lead the way. He was a great Ranger and a great American citizen that the nation can be proud of.”
This was Kopp’s third combat deployment, with two previous deployments to Iraq.
Kopp was born on Jan. 20, 1988, in Minneapolis. After graduating from Rosemount High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in July 2006.
Kopp completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning as an infantryman, according to a news release. After graduating from the Basic Airborne Course, he was assigned to the Ranger Indoctrination Program, also at Fort Benning.
Following graduation from the Ranger Indoctrination Program, he was then assigned to Company C, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment in June 2007.
Kopp’s military education includes the Basic Airborne Course, Ranger Indoctrination Program and the U.S. Army Ranger Course. His awards and decorations include Army Achievement Medal with two awards, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, Parachutist Badge and the Ranger Tab.
Kopp is survived by his mother, Jill Stephenson of Rosemont, Minn., and his father, Duane Kopp of Minnetonka, Minn.