Benjamin Gerling was born June 14, 1986, in San Francisco, California. His family moved to Albany, Oregon when Ben was two. Ben’s childhood pursuits were diverse: children’s theater, play writing, and Little League sports. Ben expressed his personal style at a young age by wearing a three-piece suit to his fifth grade valedictorian award ceremony!
In middle school, Ben participated in the National Science Olympics and was a Presidential Merit Scholar. During high school, Ben joined the International Baccalaureate program and served as president of the Thespian Club. Ben was also a founding member of the water polo team, leader in the peer mentor program, and member of the choir. After graduating from South Salem High School, Ben went to the University of Washington and joined Phi Delta Theta. After the chapter dropped from over 100 members to a 15 person chapter, Ben stepped up as the recruitment chair to rebuild his fraternity. After transferring to Oregon State University, Ben was elected as the fraternity’s risk management chair. He brought many innovative team-building ideas to the chapter and always exemplified the traits of being a true brother by upholding his fraternity vow.
Ben served his country as a cadet in the Air Force ROTC program. He held many offices and received even more awards for his dedication. As recruiting officer his sophomore year, he spent more hours recruiting than the entire wing put together. He was the Silver Talons Drill Team Commander, Wing Commander, Cadet Training Assistant, Dining Out Officer, Field Training Preparation Officer, and a member of the Arnold Air Society. A few of Ben’s awards include the Distinguished Graduate, Junior Class Speaker of the Year, Reserve Officer Association Award, AFROTC Meritorious Service Award, AFROTC Commendation Award, AFROTC Achievement Award, and the Academic Honors Award.
Ben died suddenly in early May 2008. At the time of his death, Ben was just a month shy of graduating with honors from OSU and accepting his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. The Cadets of Air Force ROTC Detachment 685 established the Benjamin Gerling Memorial Scholarship in memory of Ben. The Fund provides annual scholarships to Air Force ROTC students at Oregon State University.