Benjamin M. Hamilton (Colonel, US Army Retired) of Hampton, Virginia, died Wednesday, August 19, 2015. He was born December 10, 1928, in Atlanta, Georgia, to a military family and, like his father, served in the US Army for over 30 years.
He received his BA degree from Davidson College; MA degree from the University of Mississippi; and following his Army service, received a BA degree in Business from Saint Leo College. Colonel Hamilton’s Army career included 15 years in the Infantry and 15 years in the Military Intelligence Branch. His stateside troop assignments included service with the 8th and 2nd Infantry Divisions.
He served during the Korean War where he was assigned as a rifle company commander with the 45th Infantry Division, the same division with which his father served in WW II. He had two tours in Vietnam, serving first (1962) as an advisor to the South Vietnamese Civil Guard Battalion (Quang Nam Province) and later (1969) as a battalion commander in the US Army’s 525th Military Intelligence Brigade.
He and his wife had two tours in Washington, D.C., first with the Department of the Army Intelligence and second with the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Following his selection for Colonel level command in 1975, he was assigned as Commander, 500th Military Intelligence Brigade, with headquarters at Ft. Shafter, Hawaii. He was then assigned to Heidelberg, Germany, as Deputy for Intelligence in NATO’s Central Army Group. Following his return to the USA, he was assigned to the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) at Ft. Monroe, VA, from which post he retired in 1980.
Colonel Hamilton was a graduate of the US Army’s Infantry and Intelligence Schools; The Army Language School (Russian); The Command and General Staff College; and The Army War College. His numerous US Army awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman’s Badge (CIB) for service in the Korean War and the Legion of Merit for service as a battalion commander during the Vietnam Conflict. His most cherished award was the CIB as his father was instrumental in its establishment in 1943.
Colonel Hamilton (Ben as he preferred to be called) pursued a second career as a real estate agent and managing broker from 1981 to 1995, working in the Hampton offices of Larasan Realty and Long and Foster Realtors. Ben was active in the Virginia Peninsula Association of Realtors and served two terms on the Association’s Board of Directors.
In 1992, he was awarded the Association’s prestigious Code of Ethics Award. During his retirement years, Ben pursued a number of volunteer activities. He organized (as charter co-chair) the Ft. Monroe Retiree Council in 1982; worked with the Hampton Ecumenical Lodging and Provisions (H.E.L.P.) program and H.E.L.P. Food Pantry for more than 15 years; and served as an AARP Volunteer Tax Preparer for eight years.
He served on the Board of the Fort Monroe Casemate Museum Foundation and was also a museum volunteer. Ben was an active member of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, serving on a number of parish committees including Chairperson and Financial Secretary of the Endowment Board for several years.
Ben and his wife, Dibba, shared many wonderful friends, experiences, and memories, as they moved from military station to station, and during retirement in Hampton. During the more relaxing and happy years of his life in retirement, Ben and his wife particularly enjoyed family activities and the opportunity to travel with good friends to many enchanting places.
Throughout his illness, Ben felt the love and comfort provided by his devoted family. He said many times that it was Dibba’s love and compassion which sustained him.
The family expresses heartfelt appreciation to Intrepid Hospice for their professional care, with special thanks to Helen, Tracy, and Alicia. The family also thanks David Pugh and countless others for their compassion, comfort, and encouragement. Ben was predeceased by his parents, Raymond C. Hamilton (Col, USA Ret) and Margaret B. Hamilton; his son (David); and by his brother (Raymond).
Survivors include his lovely wife of 51years, Elynor (Dibba) Butler Hamilton, of Hampton, VA; daughter Margaret Sue Brown and husband Edward, of Richmond, VA; two children of his first marriage, Benjamin M. Hamilton, Jr., of Rego Park, NY, and Laura R. Hamilton, of Savannah, GA.
Also surviving are four lovely granddaughters: Sarah and Rachel Hamilton, of Braselton, GA, and Ella and Tessa Brown, of Richmond, VA. Friends may visit with the family from 4:00 – 6:00 PM, on Sunday, August 23rd at the R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home, 245 S. Armistead Avenue, Hampton.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM on Monday, August 24th at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 179 East Mercury Boulevard in Hampton, VA, 23669, with the Reverend Rhonda Wheeler officiating. Burial with full military honors will follow at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.
Memorials in lieu of flowers may be sent to Emmanuel Episcopal Church (for Endowment Fund).
Published in Daily Press on Aug. 21, 2015