Capt. Benjamin Tiffner
A soldier with ties to Soldotna was killed Wednesday in Iraq.
Capt. Benjamin Tiffner, 31, of West Virginia, died in Baghdad of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device during the course of conducting a ground convoy, according to a U.S. Army Special Operations Command press release. He was a Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha team leader assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Campbell, Ky.
Tiffner is the son of Soldotna Baptist Church senior pastor Timothy Tiffner and his wife, Judith.
Timothy Tiffner said he had an opportunity to talk with his son just before he died.
"One of the last things he told me was, 'Dad, we're making a difference here. The media won't tell you that. ... It's an honor and a privilege to be here,'" he said.
"That's a good memory to leave with."
Tiffner was born in Ohio. He spent much of his childhood in the Philippines where his parents served as missionaries.
Tiffner said his son always wanted to join the military. Benjamin Tiffner's older brother served in Iraq with the Marine Corps, and his grandfather was a career soldier.
Tiffner graduated from West Point in 2000. He served his first tour of duty in Iraq from November 2003 to March 2004. He earned his Green Beret in 2006 before returning to Iraq for his second tour.
Tiffner's parents and sister, Sarah, have lived in Soldotna since 1999. Timothy Tiffner said his son visited Soldotna frequently.
"He would come to visit often. He was just here this summer," he said.
"He spent most of the holidays here when he wasn't deployed. Many, many times he was here."
Tiffner will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.
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