Lieutenant General Frederick “Ben” Hodges
US Army, Retired
I served as the commander of all US Army forces in Europe for nearly four years. I saw firsthand the unique impact Spirit of America has on the ability of our soldiers to defend America and our allies. Spirit of America has an outstanding team, including many Army veterans. Thank you for supporting them.
I served over 40 years in the Army. I started out as an infantry platoon leader after graduating from the US Military Academy at West Point. I retired in 2017 as the Commanding General of United States Army Europe. In that role, I was on the front lines of dealing with Russia’s increasing aggressiveness and attacks on sovereign countries. I saw how Vladimir Putin is trying to tear apart free and democratic societies and undermine America’s relationship with our friends and allies in Europe. The threat from Russia is real. Our freedom and way of life are under attack.
During the Cold War, America had 300,000 troops deployed across Europe. When I took command of the US Army in Europe, we had only 30,000 US soldiers in Europe. To deal with Russia’s unexpected aggression and its actions against the US, NATO and the West, I needed to make 30,000 troops look like 300,000. This was an enormous challenge.
After meeting Jim Hake and his team, I immediately recognized Spirit of America as a ‘force multiplier.’ They provided me and my soldiers a unique capability to increase America’s influence and strengthen relationships with our partners and allies. This means our troops don’t have to act alone to defend the United States and the West.
I worked with Spirit of America to establish the ArmyFM radio station to serve the information needs of Ukrainian soldiers fighting Russian-backed insurgents. Their support helped the Ukrainians defend their nation. Spirit of America also supported my missions in Estonia, Georgia, Serbia and Moldova and helped our troops establish a stronger Europe. No other organization has an impact like Spirit of America.
Although I retired from the military, I am proud to continue serving our nation as a member of Spirit of America’s Advisory Board. It gives me the opportunity to prevent conflict, save lives and demonstrate that America is the best partner for people seeking peace and a better life.
I hope you will continue to support Spirit of America. It is a great way to help our troops protect the liberty and security that generations of Americans have fought so hard to achieve.
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (retired)