Born on April 26, 1944 in Atlanta Georgia. He received a BS degree in biological science from San Jose State and MA degree in business management from Webster University.
He served as a Park Ranger at Grand Canyon from whence he joined the USMC in 1966. Ben was commissioned a second lieutenant on April 1, 1968 and was directed to the Army Helicopter School. He received his Army wings in December, 1968 and was reassigned to MCAS (H) Santa Ana, CA, where he was designated a Naval Aviator. Ben was sent to Vietnam in June, 1969 where he flew 863 combat missions in the CH-46D Seaknight helicopter. He received 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 44 Air Medals for valor. Later Ben transitioned into jets where he flew the AV8A Harrier, the OA-4M and the Beech King Air.
He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel on August 1, 1988. He served on the Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation for several years as Chairman for the Honorary Board of Directors. In that capacity he was highly successful in bringing several world-famous individuals including war heroes and U.S. astronauts to the Board.