A 2017 advertisement from the U.S. Marines depicts a young woman helping a girl being bullied at school. She then is shown on a rugby field in driving rain plowing through would-be tacklers. She is then diving into storm drains, lying on her back, artillery in hand dressed in camouflage, before being in the midst of actual battle in the middle of a desert. The purpose of the ad is to depict that some people are simply born to be part of the armed forces. Colonel Benjamin Conde is one of those people.
“He is highly respected in the Air Force for his decision making, his ability to concentrate on his job and his ability to bring his people home safely,” said Col. Conde’s father David Conde. “His excellence in academics brought him to the Air Force Academy where he fell in love with the challenge of flying and teamwork to accomplish important tasks that involved life and death decisions.”
It requires a unique ability to “fall in love” with the idea of being involved in life-and-death tasks and, according to David Conde, his son possesses that ability.
Born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but growing up in Denver, Col. Conde showed from an early age a competitive spirit that did not back down from a challenge.
“Since he was very young Ben has carried out his life with humility, compassion, honesty and honor,” the elder Conde said. “He played football with a team of older kids because there was no team in his age group and he helped lead them to a championship. He was the only one recognized with a special award for his knowledge of the game.”
Not only a recognized athlete - Col. Conde was part of a state champion basketball team - he is also a talented musician having been an all-state Jazz musician and played with the Air Force Academy’s famous Drum and Bugle Corps. His intelligence, however, is where most of his accolades have come.
After graduating from George Washington High School in 1993, Conde went on to the Air Force Academy where he would graduate in 1997 with honors as 2nd Lieutenant. Furthermore, he was recognized as a distinguished graduate and “The Outstanding Cadet in Mathematical Sciences.”
“Five grandmothers and their families showed up at his going-away reception before going into the Air Force,” David Conde recalled. “Since then, everyone has followed his career with admiration and the expectation that he is doing great things.”
On the war front, Col. Conde has been deployed to Iraq twice and Afghanistan three times. Through his consistency and efforts he was frequently awarded Pilot of the Quarter and Pilot of the Year recognitions, not to mention the combat decorations he has received for his performance in battle and for saving over 200 coalition lives.
Col. Conde has continued to work for the betterment of the nation while advancing his own pedigree. In 2010 he attended Command and Staff College at the National Intelligence University in Washington D.C., where he received a Master’s Degree in Strategic Intelligence. He has served at the Pentagon assisting the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was the principle advisor for Afghanistan and Pakistan strategy and policy development.
In 2013 Col. Conde took on a new role as Director of Operations and later Commander of the 33rd Combat Air Rescue Squadron at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. While there he executed seven deployments to war zones including one to the Horn of Africa.
On July 28th Col. Conde will receive his official promotion to Colonel in recognition of his leadership in combat operations and highly skilled professional experience in problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork and risk management.
“He is a model by which we measure academic excellence, coolness in battle, flying skills, leader of men and women, being a great father, husband and a helpful friend,” David Conde said. “We are most proud of his humility in the face of such great accomplishments.”
He will also be honored at Coors Field during the Colorado Rockies game on July 29.