Benjamin is an Army veteran turned mountaineer and adventurer. He is currently living in Charlotte, NC working as a surgical technician with the very surgeon that saved his leg after suffering an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in Afghanistan. He is also a volunteer and mentor with the nonprofit organization OneTeam Colgan Foundation, formerly American300, through which he is able to visit U.S. Military bases throughout the world to speak to service members about his experiences and to encourage resiliency and to have a positive impact on low morale and distress that plagues many current and past service members. He has overcome seemingly insurmountable difficulties and obstacles, while still aiming to encourage and inspire others. This site is only the surface of his story. Contact Benjamin for speaking engagements and other inquiries.
We'll be adding more pictures soon!
Early Life and Military Career
Benjamin grew up in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He grew up loving sports and is a huge fan of the Brewers, Admirals, and naturally the Green Bay Packers!
During his childhood, he remembered watching footage of the war in Desert Storm in the news, and he decided that early that he wanted to be a soldier. After high school, Benjamin joined the U.S. Army Reserves as a(n) Operating Room Specialist.
In 2005, after about two years in the Reserves with the 452nd Combat Support Hospital, he volunteered to go Active Duty and upon arrival at his first duty assignment to Brooke Army Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston, Texas he volunteered to deploy with the 10th Combat Support Hospital out of Fort Carson, Colorado for a year long deployment to Baghdad, Iraq in the Green Zone at Ibn Sina Hospital.
Two years later, wanting to be on the front line, he changed his job within the Army to a Cavalry Scout where he would be assigned to 5th Brigade 2nd Infantry Division Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) 8th Squadron 1st Cavalry Regiment out of Fort Lewis, Washington. He then deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan, and within two months, his life was changed due to permanent injuries received from an improvised explosive device that crushed the driver compartment of the Stryker vehicle that he was driving. He received numerous injuries including a debilitating injury to his right leg and was medically evacuated to Kandahar Airfield for emergency surgery and treatment. He would go on to receive multiple limb salvage surgeries, along with numerous surgeries to repair his multiple injuries.
After medically retiring from the Army in 2013, Benjamin wanted to find a way to overcome his injuries, challenge himself and inspire others. He became interested in mountaineering....with the help of Mountain Gurus and Founder, Dennis Broadwell, he took part in a Mountaineering Expedition Leader Course on Mount Baker, Washington where he would learn the fundamental climbing skills needed to climb a mountain successfully with a guide. After a discouraging unsuccessful first summit attempt on Mt. Baker, he then attempted Mt. Rainier. He didn't let these first two defeats bring him down. He then set his sights on the first of the Seven Summits, Mt. Elbrus. When he reached his first summit of Mt. Elbrus, it fueled a fire that is leading him to become the first Purple Heart Recipient/Combat Wounded Veteran to climb the Seven Summits.
Check out the Mountaineering page for his achievements on the mountains!
Because Ben has such an incredible story, many of his friends, family, and people he has met have been telling him he needs to write a book. He finally decided to give it a shot! Next year he is going to try to start writing his experiences down and working with an author to make his story accessible. Please head to the contact page and let us know if you have any writing experience, advice, or encouraging words!
The Military Order of the Purple Heart
Army Commendation Medal (3rd award)
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Army Achievement Medal (4th award)
Army Good Conduct Medal (2nd award)
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal (Campaign Star)
Iraq Campaign Medal (Two Campaign Stars)
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army NCO Professional Development Ribbon
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon (2nd award)
NATO Service Medal
Combat Action Badge
Expert Marksmanship Badge
Benjamin was elected into his high school Wall of Recognition in November of 2017 for not only his dedication to his country, but for his selfless service and inspiration to others in his home community as well as the military community in a whole.