Locals react to helicopter crash that killed seven Marines

Locals react to helicopter crash that killed seven Marines north of Yuma


YUMA, AZ - Former Vietnam veteran Ken Benckwitz considers vets from all wars and branches his family.  So the news of the helicopter crash north of Yuma impacts him.
"I consider [them] my brothers also, being a retired Marine.  Seven of them were killed and that hurts," says Benckwitz, a social worker and Team Leader It hurts, you know, and I think the frustration of what can I do?  And for me, I can be there if they need to grieve."

Benckwitz and folks at the Yuma Veteran Center help service members and their families in crisis, something vets didn't have decades ago.

"You couldn't grieve back then.  You didn't have time to grieve in combat," explains Benckwitz.  Military...we have this saying:  don't Marine up or don't Army up.  You know, it's all right to show your emotions.  The old saying that men don't cry.  Well, we do.  We have feelings.  We hurt."

Benckwitz says people grieve in different ways.  He worries about those who don't have a good support system.

"We don't want somebody to go out and go to the bar and start drinking.  That's not grieving.  That's drowning their sorrows, but the hurt is still there when they wake up," says Benckwitz.  "We want them to express their feelings and let it out in a safe place."

Jose Reyes also works at the Vet Center.  He feels for their victims' families too. 

"Military members really, you know, they tried their best, they did what they have to do to serve their country.  And they ended up dying in the end.  It really has a big bearing on me, knowing I was in the Marine Corps as well as serving as well.  It makes me feel...there is a sense of need to want to help."

Reyes says there's hope for those in need.

"The physical or the mental state of the family members who are going through this...they're going to be going through a lot of pain and agony and a lot of suffering," says Reyes.  "And I feel they should get help."

  • Email Alert Sign Up

    Sign up here to receive breaking news stories from KSWT.com and morning updates to your email inbox.

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.

KSWT-TV Affiliates

Go to KSWT-TV's Facebook page

KSWT Facebook Feeds