KIA June 20, 2007
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to 1st Battalion, 64th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia
Army PFC David “DJ” Bentz, III died June 20, 2007 of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Baghdad, Iraq. Also killed were MAJ Sid W. Brookshire, SSG Darren P. Hubbell, and SPC Joe G. Charfauros, Jr.
David, who went by the name DJ, is remembered by friends and family as a courteous, sweet man who knew how to put his dedication where it counted. DJ, who lived with his father, David, and stepmother, Bernadette, joined the Army in 2006 and took basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was a 2004 graduate of Clayton High School where he was a dedicated soccer player all four years. Bernadette described her stepson as ‘happy-go-lucky, bright and charming.’ “He wasn’t rambunctious,” said Daniel Antonelli, his assistant principal and soccer coach. “He was on the quiet side. But out there on the field, he was tenacious. He’d get all over the place. I know he would have fought for his country the same way.” DJ studied law enforcement while in high school, and grew up very much the protector of his two younger sisters, Gabrielle and Brianna. He loved to play poker and dreamed of becoming a professional card player when he got out of the Army.
Recalling memories of her son, DJ’s mother, Kim Geonotti, wrote in a letter, “…He said he came to do a mission and he was going to finish it and not leave his buddies—no matter how hard it was. My brave son was scared, but he faced this with determination that only a spirited strong man could know. He would tell me over and over again, ‘please pray for me, it is bad…’, and I did and I still do for all the troops. But I want you to know that my son gave his life…the ultimate sacrifice for what he believed in. Family, Friends, and America…the right to Freedom! I want you to know that he was more than just a death rate number, he was my son, brother, cousin, friend, comrade to all Americans!”
PFC David Bentz III was 20 years old from Newfield, New Jersey
Original portrait was presented January 30, 2009 to David’s mother, Kimberly, during a special memorial event held at the Glassboro VFW Post #679. Also present were the members of the South Jersey Vietnam Veterans Association Military Order of the Purple Heart