Angwin mourns Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan

August 8, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Family and friends in the Napa town of Angwin are mourning the death of a young Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan this past Saturday. He was among 22 Navy SEALs killed when their helicopter was shot down in the Tangi Valley, in Afghanistan. Darrik Benson became a SEAL in 2003.

Linda Hansel was Darrik Benson's 8th grade teacher at Pacific Union College Elementary School in Angwin -- that was 14 years ago. Like many in this small community, she's saddened by his death.

"It comes as a terrible shock when you hear that somebody you know has met with an end. It's like a little piece of you goes missing," said Hansel.

Benson was killed early Saturday morning while responding to a call for help from another Special Forces group in Afghanistan. On board that chopper were 22 SEALs, seven Afghan commandos and other U.S. troops.

"I think it's time to pull out of there. I think it's a waste of money and a waste of time," said Angwin resident Marcel Jewell.

The navy has asked the Benson family not to give any interviews to the press. Some locals are honoring that request, but others say they want to take this opportunity to honor him.

"He was the kind of fellow who lived life in the moment. Enjoy it today," said Hansel.

Valerie Stewart's children went to school with Benson.

"Great kid, he always wanted to the best for everyone. He was a peacemaker and I know he's a peace right now," said Stewart.