Ben H. English is an eighth-generation Texan who was born in Uvalde in the late 1950s. As a child, he spent most of his years in the Big Bend Country of Texas. He attended schools in Presidio, Marfa, and later, a one room school house in Terlingua. During this time, his family had several ranching and business interests in the area, including the historic Lajitas Trading Post, which was run by his grandparents.
His family moved to Fort Stockton, Texas, where he graduated from high school in May of 1976. He joined the United States Marine Corps on a delay enlistment program and turned eighteen years old while still in boot camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California. He volunteered for the Ground Infantry and attended Infantry Training School at Camp Pendleton following his graduation from boot camp. While training as a mortar man at infantry school, he was selected to be a Marine Security Guard and sent to Marine Barracks, Naval Ammunition Depot, Hawthorne, Nevada. He stayed there until the barracks was closed in October 1977, and received orders to Okinawa to join the Second Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment.
After displaying certain field skills and marksmanship abilities, he was transferred to the battalion’s Surveillance & Target Acquisition (STA) Platoon and attended the Third Marine Division Scout-Sniper School at Camp Hansen, Okinawa. Following his completion of this course, he became a jungle and mountain warfare instructor at Northern Training Area in Okinawa until returning stateside in November 1978.
Serving as a scout-sniper for STA Platoon for Third Battalion, Second Marines, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; he later became Chief Scout-Sniper and Platoon Sergeant while still only holding the rank of corporal. He also attended and successfully completed the Scout-Sniper School for Second Marine Division at Camp Geiger, North Carolina. He was meritoriously promoted to the rank of sergeant and chosen to become a unit leader and instructor for the Infantry Training School at Camp Geiger.
In January, 1980, Sergeant English was offered the opportunity to join the Fourth Counterintelligence Team at Camp Lejeune, and did so after re-enlistment. For the next three and a half years, he attended various schools for counterintelligence, interrogation, counter-terrorism, and took part in several field operations. By the time he had finished his second enlistment in July 1983, he had traveled to over thirty different countries; mostly in Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and West Africa.
Despite several offers to stay in the Marine Corps, English mustered out and began attending college at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. Within three years, he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Government as well as recognition by Alpha Lambda Delta, Alpha Chi, and Who’s Who In American Colleges and Universities. A few months prior to his graduation in May 1983, he married Miss Cathy Elizabeth Dennis.
After college, he was accepted to the Texas Department of Public Safety Training Academy in Austin as a trooper-trainee in June of 1986. He graduated from the academy in October 1986 and was stationed as a Highway Patrol Trooper in Ozona, Texas.
During those years he was tasked as a Driving Instructor, Firearms Instructor, Defensive Tactics Instructor, and several other secondary assignments. He was a member of the regional pistol team, regional honor guard, and served on the District Civil Disturbance Management Team since 1987. On a more personal note, he coached his county 4-H small-bore rifle team to state competition and has been an adult leader for the Boy Scouts of America for several years. He also taught Youth Sunday School at the First Baptist Church of Ozona, and served on numerous committees for the church.
Mr. English retired from the Texas Highway Patrol in late 2008, and spent the following two years working part time as a Criminal Justice teacher at Ozona High School. He still enjoys his many interests and hobbies such as reading, writing, and assorted outdoor activities. He considers himself a student of such subjects as American and military history, politics, current events, and is quite knowledgeable of weapons and warfare. He also tinkers around as an amateur gunsmith and works on antique and special interest automobiles.
His wife, Cathy, has her own business, Alpine Ala Carte, LLC which provides digital marketing services, website design and maintenance. They have two sons, both of whom graduated from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. Levi is presently a Marine Corps attack-fighter aviator and Ethan serves as a main propulsion officer aboard the United States Navy cruiser Cape St. George.
Presently, Mr. English and his wife live in Alpine, Texas so they can be closer to the land they both love so much. To this day, he likes nothing better than grabbing a pack and some canteens, and heading off in a direction he has never been before.