Benjamin Thurman Hacker

Benjamin Thurman Hacker

Rear Admiral Benjamin Thurman Hacker (1935-2003) was a U.S. Navy officer, who became the first Naval Flight Officer (NFO) to achieve Flag rank.

Infobox Military Person
name= Benjamin T. Hacker
born= birth date|1935|9|19
died= death date and age|2003|12|28|1935|9|19
placeofdeath= Washington, D.C.
placeofdeath= Norfolk, Virginia

allegiance= United States of America
branch= United States Navy
serviceyears= 1958-1988
rank= Rear Admiral (UH)
commands= US Naval Facility Barbados, WI NROTC Florida A & M University Patrol Squadron 24 (VP-24) NAS Brunswick, Maine USMEPCOM COMFAIRMED COMARSURVRECFORSIXFLT COMARAIRMED NTC, San Diego Naval Base San Diego
awards= Defense Superior Service Medal Legion of Merit Meritorious Service Medal
laterwork=Insurance Executive (USAA) Director - CA Dept. Veterans Affairs

Early life

Hacker was born September 19, 1935 in Washington, D.C. His father, C. Leroy Hacker, was an author, Baptist pastor and a chaplain in the U.S. Army. His mother, Alzeda (Crockett) Hacker, was an accomplished musician. Of their three children, Benjamin was the eldest.

Benjamin attended Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, graduating in 1957 with a B.A. Degree in Science. He married his wife Jeanne, in 1958.

Naval Service

After completing the Navy's Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida in September 1958, Hacker was commissioned Ensign and subsequently received the designation of Naval Flight Officer. Hacker gained experience as a Tactical Coordinator in P2V "Neptune" and P3C "Orion" aircraft through numerous operational assignments in the far reaches of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and Mediterranean Sea.

He took command [
] of the U.S. Naval Facility, Barbados, West Indies in 1968. In 1972 he established the Naval ROTC Unit at Florida A & M University, Tallahassee, Florida and served as the first Commanding Officer and Professor of Naval Science of this unit. In 1974 he became Commanding Officer of Patrol Squadron TWENTY-FOUR (VP-24), a P3C "Orion" Squadron stationed in Jacksonville, Florida.

In June 1978 he completed studies in National Security Policy at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and earned a Masters of Science Degree in Administration from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. In August 1978 he was assigned as Commanding Officer, Naval Air Station, Brunswick, Maine.

In 1980 then Captain Hacker was selected for promotion to Rear Admiral and assumed duties as Commander, U.S. Military Enlistment Processing Command with headquarters in Fort Sheridan, Illinois. In 1982 he became Commander Fleet Air Mediterranean; Commander Maritime Surveillance and Reconnaissance Forces, Sixth Fleet; and Commander Maritime Air Forces Mediterranean simultaneously with headquarters in Naples Italy. In 1986 he was assigned to Naval Training Center, San Diego. During this assignment he was also assigned Commander Naval Base San Diego. He held both commands simultaneously for several months. In 1988, at the completion of his assignment as Commander Naval Base San Diego, Rear Admiral Hacker retired from the U.S. Navy.

Rear Admiral Hacker was the first Naval Flight Officer (NFO) to be selected for Flag rank in the United States Navy. He held ten commands over the course of his 30-year military career. Included among Rear Admiral Hacker's personal decorations are the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with three Gold Stars, and the Meritorious Service Medal.

On November 3, 2005 the "Commander, Task Force 67" [] headquarters building located in Sigonella, Sicily was dedicated in his honor.


After retiring from the Navy, Rear Admiral Hacker worked at financial-services firm USAA as assistant vice president for policy service, at the organization's western regional office in Sacramento.

In the early 1990s, at the request of then-Governor Pete Wilson, Hacker served for two years as director of the California Department of Veterans Affairs and then rejoined USAA as regional vice president and general manager of its western region. He moved to San Antonio in his next post in December 1995.

Hacker also held posts as Regional Senior Vice President/General Manager in the company's Mid-Atlantic Region headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia. Rear Admiral Hacker retired from USAA in 1998 but continued to serve on various local and national Boards.

On December 28th, 2003 Rear Admiral Hacker died from complications relating to Chronic lymphocytic Leukemia, (CLL) a disease which he battled for 12 years.

External links

Dedicated Sites/Pages
* [ Web Tribute]
* [ Thoughts of those who knew him...]
* [ CTF-67] (Enter site then click on: CTF67 Emblem "Task Force History" link on home page above Main Menu.)

Honorable Mention
* [ Arlington Cemetery]
* [ The Chrysler Museum of Art "The Quilts of Gee's Bend" exhibit dedication]
* [ NTC San Diego Center Commanders]
* [ Navy Patrol Squadron VP-21]
* [ Navy Patrol Squadron VP-24 *]
* [ Alpha Phi Alpha]
* [ Photos: NAVFAC Barbados, 1968 Change of Command]
* [ Commander Jim Jackson: Black Stars to Gold Stripes Speaker & Exhibit Series]
* [

* Article in Attualità an Italian publication - December 2005 (Item no longer online)
* [ 200Plus Men news article - November 2005]
* [ CNO to NNOA: 21st Century Human CapitALL System Needed Now - August 13, 2004]
* [ Armed Services YMCA, news letter - Spring/Summer 2004]
* Tallahassee Democrat (FL) - February 24, 2004
* Virginian-Pilot, The (Norfolk, VA) - February 9, 2004, B9 [Title: Admiral was Pioneer for African Americans]
* [ Washington Post, The - Obituaries - (Washington, DC) December 31, 2003]
* [ Virginia-Pilot "Letter to the Editor" by Admiral Hacker July 1997]
* Virginian-Pilot, The (Norfolk, VA) - February 11, 1997 []
* [ USAA appoints new top gun for Mid-Atlantic Region, San Antonio Business Journal - January 29, 1997]
* Ebony, - February 1983, 74 - 78 [Title: Admiral Hacker Takes Command] Events
* [ Fourth Annual RADM Ben Hacker Leadership in Literacy Awards Breakfast - Sep 20, 2007]

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