The body of California Army National Guard soldier Spc. Benjamin Pleitez arrived at the Modesto Airport, at approximately 10am this morning, as his family was presented an American flag covered casket.
Following his arrival in Modesto, where many community members gathered to show their support for a fallen soldier, Pleitez was transported to a funeral home for a private viewing.
On Wednesday, August 8th, a public memorial service for Pleitez will take place at 1pm at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, located at 2400 N. Olive Avenue in Turlock.
Immediately after the service, graveside honors will be held at the San Joaquin National Cemetery, located at 3205 McCabe Road, in Santa Nella. Spc. Pleitez will be laid to rest at this location.
Pleitez, aged 25 from Turlock, died on July 27ty in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. At this point, the cause of death has still not been released.
He is the fourth California National Guardsmen to die in Afghanistan.
Spc. Pleietez was assigned to the 649th Military Police Company, 185th Military Police Battalion, 49th Military Police Brigade, Army National Guard, San Luis Obispo, and attached to the 1072nd Transportation Company, 746th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 224th Sustainment Brigade, Army National Guard, Van Nuys.
He is survived by his two parents, Diana and Salvador Pleitez, and two siblings.
Many community members in Turlock were devastated to learn that Spc. Pleitez had died while overseas and offered their condolences to the friends and family members of the fallen soldier.
Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) acknowledged and praised Spc. Benjamin Pleitez’s service to our country.
"I am deeply saddened to hear about the death of Specialist Benjamin C. Pleitez. He died serving our nation to protect our freedoms, and I join our entire nation and the family of this brave soldier in mourning his loss,” stated Congressman Denham. “He is an American hero, and we will always remember his heroism and dedicated service to our nation. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as they cope with this tremendous loss."
State Senator Anthony Cannella, of California’s 12th District, also offered his thoughts and prayers for the Pleitez family.
“It always saddens me when I hear of the loss of a service member,” stated Cannella. “Specialist Pleitez freely gave to his country by volunteering for this assignment. His contributions to those around him will be greatly missed. My prayers go out to his fellow soldiers and the Pleitez family for their loss.”
More information regarding the incident surrounding the death of Spc. Benjamin Pleitez will be available once the U.S. Army and Department of Defense releases further details.