Darrik Benson was born on October 3, 1982, in Angwin, California. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 2001, and completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training, Jump School, and SEAL Qualification Training before being assigned to SEAL Team THREE at NAB Coronado, California, from June 2003 to September 2009. During this time, SO1 Benson deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from October 2004 to January 2005, and from April to October 2008. His next assignment was in Gold Squadron with the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) at Dam Neck, Virginia, from September 2009 until he was killed in action aboard a CH-47 Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011. Darrik Benson was buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemtery in San Diego, California.
His Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy as an Assault Team Member for a Joint Task Force in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM from 1 March 2010 to 1 July 2010. During this period, Petty Officer First Class Benson consistently and deliberately exposed himself to enemy fire while conducting several direct action missions, resulting in the elimination of numerous enemy fighters and the capture of others. On 17 March 2010, Petty Officer First Class Benson was positioned on a roof during a daring nighttime raid in an enemy controlled valley when the enemy fighters opened fire on his team. He quickly returned fire, eliminating the fighters as the assault force came under heavy enemy fire from numerous positions within the targeted compound and throughout the valley. When a barricaded shooter mortally wounded his teammate, Petty Officer First Class Benson moved from his position to explosively breach the external wall of the room containing the barricaded shooter. Through the breached wall, he engaged the barricaded shooter with grenades enabling his teammates to enter the compound and recover their wounded teammate. By his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative, and total dedication to duty, Petty Officer First Class Benson reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.