Soldier’s family is ‘still in shock just being here’ in Glenwood
Editor’s note: Operation Vacation is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization based in Glenwood Springs whose purpose is to reunite deserving soldiers with their families on free vacations in Colorado. Grand County is one of the organization’s destinations, and every month a family stays in a different section of the county. The vacation is sponsored by local businesses and individuals.
Name: Ben Loudenber
Place of birth: Hammond, Ind.
Branch of the military: Army
Family: Wife Callie, son Alex (2), twins Jacob and Lili (6 months)
When and why did you join the Army? In August of 2004. It was just time.
Where have you been deployed? Balad, Iraq.
What was your favorite place you’ve been stationed? I’ve only been stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. I’ve been there the whole time. They say it’s hard to get out of the military when you’re stationed at Fort Carson, but I understand why.
What experience in your travels overseas most surprised you? How friendly the Iraqis are. And yet, they still want to kill you.
What was your favorite experience while being deployed? The food. The bread they have is like hand-made tortillas and you eat it with everything. The chow hall was always good.
First thing you’d buy after winning the lottery? Pay off my new van.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I did want to be in the Army. But people kept talking me out of it. But my dad said “It’s about time” when I joined.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received: There are good days and bad days ” no matter what.
Any tattoos? What are they and what is the meaning behind them? I have two ” one of a grim reaper where I was going to put names of friends that didn’t make it back from Iraq, but luckily they all did. The other is of a dragon; it’s sort of a family thing.
If you could invite any three individuals in history to dinner, who would you invite and why? George Washington, just to see how he’s doing; Mel Gibson ” he’s always been my favorite actor; and John Candy ” I’ve always liked him, too.
What’s your most memorable military experience? The military ball. My wife was pregnant with the twins still and we had to wait around for about two hours until they let us into the ballroom.
What are you looking forward to doing while in Glenwood Springs? Everything we can ” the Hot Springs Pool, the Glenwood Caverns.
What do you think of Operation Vacation? We are still in shell shock just being here. It’s amazing when you think about it.
Movie: “The Patriot”
Video game: Command and Conquer
Breakfast: My wife’s biscuits and gravy
Football Team: Chicago Bears
Athlete: Hulk Hogan
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