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OBITUARY

Benjamin Franklin Carson

February 23, 1923March 22, 2020

Benjamin Franklin Carson, 97, of Beaverton Oregon, passed away on March 22, 2020. He is survived by his wife, Helen, his son Jerry and wife Paula, daughter-in-law Julie, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son, Dennis.

Ben was born in Henderson, Minnesota on 2/23/23 and stayed on the family farm until he was 18. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, he joined the Marine Corps where he earned a spot with Carlson's Raiders. He fought in five major battles: Midway, Makin, Bougainville, Guadalcanal, and Iwo Jima. He was part of the initial group in to occupy Japan and after spending 39 months overseas, came back to Minnesota and married his sweetheart, Helen on May 5th. They were married 75 years.

In 1952, Ben joined the Federal Forest Service. He moved around the country, starting with Iowa State where he attended college. Minnesota, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Alaska, California, Washington D.C. and Oregon were all places Ben and Helen called home. They retired to a small farm, aptly named the DunRoamin Ranch, in Oregon where they grew filberts and kiwi. The farm was started with family at the center. The yearly harvests helped to fund the grandkid's education and truly became a multigenerational venture. The family also worked with Washington County's Agritourism Program to promote agricultural education. Ben's love for agriculture gave him the opportunity to serve overseas again, but this time with the State Department. He made two trips, one to the Republic of Georgia and Azerbaijan and another to Uzbekistan and Turkey to help them cultivate kiwi vines.

Ben served as a court mediator for Washington County Courts for many years and was active in the county’s “English as a Second Language” program. He also volunteered at a local high school that sponsored a Veteran’s Historical Program. He would spend an entire day answering questions from curious high school students, relating stories about his wartime experiences. Along with this, Ben was interviewed by multiple WWII historians and even wrote some manuscripts of his own - documenting his life growing up in the Great Depression and his time in WWII.

Later in life, Ben's focus turned back to the Marine Corps. He became the primary force behind the recovery of nine marines left on Makin Island. He worked with Louis Zamperini and traveled back to Quadralene Island to observe the recovery. A documentary titled "Execution Island" cataloged their journey.

He was a wonderful man, truly one of the “Greatest Generation,” who will be dearly missed.

Memories

Benjamin Franklin Carson

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Wiliiam Giesin

April 24, 2020

Letter From Marine Raider Ben Carson
March 21, 1990

Dear Bill -

I’ve taken the privilege of addressing you as Bill because I only occasionally called your uncle any other name. I knew Bill Gallagher about as well as anyone in “B” Company - Bill was coxswain in our 11-man boat crew and as such he also operated the ornery Evinrude outboard motor. I was a private in the rear rank and occupied the left rear paddle position in Bill’s boat. The outboard motors were started by wrapping a rope, with a knot at the end, around the pulley on the exposed flywheel and giving it a mighty yank. Bill’s job was to operate that motor including starting it and I frequently got that knotted end of the rope right in the chops and that really smarted especially at night when it hit you right out of the dark. These were the times I really did call Bill something other than “Bill”. We spent about 4 weeks at Barber’s Point, Hawaii practicing for the Makin Raid. We practiced rubber boating through the surf to land and also passing back through the surf. All the people in Bill’s boat knew how to swim, so we spent a lot of time with just a pair of dungarees on hunting big breakers to conquer. One time we hit a real beauty that completely turned our rubber boat bow (with two pressure gauges in place) hit me square on top of my head. The next thing I knew I was flying across the bottom of the overturned boat hacking up salt water. Bill had pulled me out and dragged me up on the boat bottom. I owed Bill one after that. Our boat crew was selected to make the trip to Makin on the Argonaut with “A” Company. Our assignment on Makin was to attack and secure the Government House, which was thought to house the Japanese Officers. As it turned out the house was unoccupied and as soon as we learned that, we were dispatched to the battle-taking place near Government Wharf. As we dodged from coconut tree to coconut tree an approach to the battle area we all got somewhat separated. That was the last

William J Giesin

April 21, 2020

To my dear wonderful friend Ben Carson who brought my Uncle Bill home so many years ago. It brought the deserved closure to Pfc. William Albert Gallagher's family that was needed. Goodbye old friend and God Bless You.
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

RANDOLPH PRUNTY

April 21, 2020

I was working on Kwajalein Atoll in Nov. 2003 when the last of the WW II Marine Raiders came out to visit. Got a chance to talk with Mr Carson at our local Veterans Hall. That Ben was one of the original Marine Raiders and survived the Makin Island raid, and he had all the great stories to tell too, such real history. I will include a picture I have from 2003 at the Memorial, as a Veteran and member of American Legion on Kwaj, I was on the Honor Guard that day! Ben & Raider Harold Berg are on each side at the Kwaj Memorial, just a great memory and my Honor to be a part of it. That WE Never Forget...!

RANDOLPH PRUNTY

April 21, 2020

I met Ben when he and many of the last Marine Raiders came out to Kwajalein Atoll in 2003! Got to talk with him for a few hours at our Veterans Hall... he had many adventures to speak of, the Makin Is was most fascinating to me! Fact that those amazing guys pulled off that raid and that any of them survived is a blessing! Ben's knowledge of Kiwi was amazing for sure, my wife liked that best! So sad he is gone, but what a long and amazing life he lived! For all of who knew, and as a Veteran myself... We Shall Never Forget! I have a picture from 2003, I was with the American Legion Honor Guard on Kwajalein and we are standing at our Memorial Site, Ben is in blue shirt next to me, my friend Harold Berg is on other side. Both are gone now, but We Shall Never Forget!

James Hastings

April 11, 2020

You and your Brothers were my generations Hero's
Semper Fidelis Marine, God Bless you and RIP
Jim Hastings
Mike Company 3rd Bn 7th Marine Regiment, Vietnam

Howard Bernstein

April 7, 2020

So sorry for your loss. Another one of the greatest generation off to his final post.
My dad was with the 5th Marine Division
and landed on Iwo Jima 6th wave red beach 2. He passed away 12/27/2015
92yrs. old.
Rest In Peace Marine. Semper Fi

Lisa Linden

April 6, 2020

Sending condolences from the family of Bernie E. Peterson, who served with Carlson's Raiders, also. My father served in the battles at Makin and Guadalcanal, and only missed Iwo Jima due to his 3rd case of Malaria. God Bless Mr. Carson, your family and the Marine Raiders.

Craig Kozeniesky

April 6, 2020

Rest in Peace, Raider Carson. Thank you for your service to the Corps and our great country. To Helen and family, you have our deepest condolences and support. God bless you all from the Marine Raider Association. Semper Fidelis and Gung Ho!

Jeff Barker

April 1, 2020

I knew Ben through the Marine Corps League. We talked about his experience with the Raiders in WW II. He talked about foreign trips to help others with agriculture. A wonderful man - a man who truly helped make America the great country it is. Now he can put his uniform back on and guard the gates of Heaven. Semper Fi, my friend.

Jack Miller

March 26, 2020

Dear Miss Helen, I am so sorry for your loss. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
I have attached a picture of Ben and I from a special moment. This was taken on Kwajalein Atoll, November 11, 2003. Just moments after the dedication ceremony ended and everyone left, Ben and I took a moment to reflect on the journey we took together. We spent 11 years getting this memorial, for the captured and later executed Makin Marine Raiders, on the ground and dedicated. We had some frustrating and great moments together. He will be missed.

FROM THE FAMILY