Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin G. Schmidt hails from Michigan where he enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves in 2001. He graduated recruit training as the platoon honorman and after completing the School of Infantry, reported to Alpha Co, 1st Bn, 24th Marines for duty as an 0311 rifleman. During his time with 1/24, he deployed to Djibouti, Africa from February to August 2003 in support of OEF/OIF. While in the Reserves, he graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Economics in 2005. Then Corporal Schmidt accepted his commission in 2006, and completed The Basic School in 2007, with follow on flight training at NAS Pensacola, Florida; Enid AFB, Oklahoma; and NAS Meridian, Mississippi. He was designated a Naval Aviator in 2009.
After completing initial training in the F/A-18 Hornet with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101, then Captain Schmidt reported to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 (VMFA-232) in 2011, flying the F/A-18C at MCAS Miramar, California. During his tour with the Red Devils, he served as the Powerline OIC, Aviation Safety Officer (ASO), Director of Safety and Standardization (DoSS) and Quality Assurance Officer. He deployed twice to the Western Pacific in support of the Unit Deployment Program, training with joint and coalition partners in Japan, Republic of Korea, Guam, Thailand, and Australia. He graduated from Marine Division Tactics Course in June 2013 and accepted orders as a Forward Air Controller following his tour with VMFA-232.
After completing TACP school in 2014, LtCol Schmidt reported to 2d Battalion, 4th Marines at Camp Pendleton, California for duty as the Helo company FAC and Assistant Operations Officer. While with the Magnificent Bastards, he deployed to INDOPACOM with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit onboard the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), and supported multiple international training evolutions that included controlling joint and partner nation aircraft. During this time, he was board selected for conversion to the F-35B.
Following his tour with 2/4, LtCol Schmidt completed initial F-35B training with VMFAT-501 in 2015, and then reported to VMFA-121, the Green Knights, at MCAS Yuma, Arizona where he served as the Flight Officer. In 2016, he was promoted to Major and reported to VMFA-211, the Wake Island Avengers, and served as the ASO, DoSS, and Pilot Training Officer (PTO) after completing MAWTS-1’s Weapons and Tactics Instructor course in 2017. In 2018, he reported to VMFA-122, the Flying Leathernecks, as the initial cadre to stand up the squadron. He served as the PTO, Aircraft Maintenance Officer, and Executive Officer. During his time with MAG-13 squadrons, LtCol Schmidt completed numerous Deployments for Training to NWSEP at Tyndall AFB, Florida for missile and aerial gunnery shoots; Northern Lightning at Volk Field, Wisconsin; Winter Fury at MCAS Miramar; Red Flag Nellis, Red Flag Alaska, and at sea periods onboard USS America (LHA-6) for Task Force-America, and USS Makin Island (LHD-8) for the 13th MEU’s pre-deployment training.
LtCol Schmidt has more than 2,000 flight hours primarily in the F-35B and F/A-18C and is designated a Mission Commander, MDTC, WTI, FCF, and NATOPS evaluator. He has a master’s degree in Administrative Leadership from the University of Oklahoma, and is a graduate of Corporals and Sergeants Courses, Expeditionary Warfare School, and Command and Staff. His personal achievements include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars in lieu of third award.