Born: December 22, 1958
Died: December 4, 2004 in Baghdad, Iraq
Sgt Joseph O. Behnke of Brooklyn, New York worked in the engineering department at the Manhattan Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and along with his sons, they started their own construction company. Joseph’s father was in the Navy and Joseph, himself wanted to also serve his country. He even tried to join the Army at age 13 so he could go to Vietnam. Finally at age seventeen he got permission to enlist and he served with the 82nd Airborne to 1976 through 1980. In 1982 he signed up with the Army National Guard. Before going to Iraq in March 2004, he trained by running up and down the beach at Coney Island with a backpack full of sand. In Iraq while living in a tent with other Army National Guard soldiers, he did what came naturally to him. He used his expertise in carpentry to build the other soldiers bed frames, closets and bookcases. But he did not build any for himself. Also while serving in Iraq, he gave out clothes, books and candy to the Iraqi children. His heart went out to the children over there, he he did what he could to brighten their lives. Yes, Joseph was always putting others first. He always did. He was last home during a two week leave in October 2004. Joseph died at age 45 in Baghdad, Iraq, when he was in a vehicle accident. He was awarded the Bronze Star.
258th Field Artillery Regiment
Brooklyn, New York
Burial is at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York