Family, Friends Say Final Goodbye to Nebraska Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

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FORT CARSON, Colo. (AP) -- Friends and family of Staff Sgt. Benjamin G. Prange, 30, said their final goodbyes in Lincoln.

Thirty-year-old Staff Sgt. Benjamin G. Prange of Hickman, Nebraska died in Afghanistan July 26.

Patriot Guard Riders lined the streets as Prange's funeral procession made its way to Southwood Lutheran Church Friday morning.

Prange and another soldier were killed when their vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) in the Kandahar Province.

The other soldier, 19-year-old Pfc. Keith M. Williams, of Visalia, California, was based at Fort Carson, Colo. with Prange. Both were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

"He loved to fish, fishing with his two sons was the best for him," said a close friend of Prange who remained anonymous. "His wife enjoyed the family time. He loved the Nebraska team. He was a great friend and always helped his friends and fellow soldiers."

The men were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson.
This was Prange’s third deployment to Afghanistan. His first was from June 2008 to June 2009; His second was from March 2012 to November 2012; and the third began March 8 of this year. He was expected to return home this fall.

Prange’s military awards include four Commendation Medals, an Achievement Medal, two Good Conduct Medals, a National Defense Service Medal, an Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, an Army Service Ribbon, an Overseas Service Ribbon, two NATO Medals and a Combat Infantryman Badge. He joined the Army in January 2007.

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), released the following statement:

“My thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathies are with the family and loved ones of Staff Sgt. Prange during this difficult time. His ultimate sacrifice on behalf of his country is a solemn reminder to us all of the high price of freedom. I join all Nebraskans in honoring the memory of this brave American. We are forever indebted to Staff Sgt. Prange for his selfless service.”