2013 Tillman Scholar

Benjamin Hinz

Marine Corps
Columbia University

As a Naval Aviator, Ben’s father spoke about service to the country with humble pride to his sons; Ben and his brother Kelly knew their lives would someday stand on a foundation of military service. But shortly after his father’s retirement, Ben’s family faced tragedy twice over. While flying at an airshow in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, Ben’s father died when his aircraft suffered engine failure. 11 months later, his brother Kelly perished flying a combat mission over Iraq, leaving behind his wife and 7-month-old daughter Abby. 

“My mother’s father, husband, and eldest son had perished in aviation accidents, and to her, my flying meant the risk of losing another son. My niece was without a father, and I had promised myself I would care for her, to be the best uncle I could be, and ensure she knew how her father had lived,” Ben says.

Intent on fulfilling his service to the Marines, Ben transferred to a non-deploying training squadron, so he could care for his family and fulfill the promise made to his niece. He spent the next 9 years instructing Naval Officers to fly and developed a passion for mentoring leaders both in and outside the military. 

Ben graduated from Columbia University in May 2015 and began work at the Boston Consulting Group. He took a leadership position coordinating the Kelly Hinz Memorial Ski Race, an event that raises awareness of the sacrifices our Gold Star families to endure, honors his fallen brother, and allows Abby to feel the support of those who knew and loved her father.