College Board Vice Chair Chair Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley: Illustrious career included leading NATO forces in Afghanistan ‣ Laurel Ridge Community College
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College Board Vice Chair Chair Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley: Illustrious career included leading NATO forces in Afghanistan

Freakley talking with people
Photo credit: Go Army

These days, Laurel Ridge College Board member Benjamin Freakley often meets with the college’s president, Dr. Kim Blosser. But in his U.S. Army days, on occasion, Gen. Freakley would report to the President of the United States.

In 2012, Gen. Freakley retired as a highly-decorated lieutenant general after nearly four decades of service and returned to his hometown of Woodstock.

Following his graduation from Central High School in Woodstock, Gen. Freakley was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

He led U.S forces in combat on three occasions: In Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm in 1990, Gen. Freakley was executive officer of the 3rd Battalion-7th Infantry, and then S-3 (Operations Officer) for the 1st Brigade, 24th Infantry Division; in 2003, he served as the assistant division commander for operations, 101st Airborne Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom; and from 2006-2007, he was the commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division and Combined Joint Task Force 76, leading units from all services and NATO in eastern Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.

From 1999 to 2001 while serving at the Pentagon in the National Military Command Center, he found himself reporting to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the U.S. Secretary of Defense and even the President.

Before retiring, Gen. Freakley was the commanding general of the U.S. Army Accessions Command, responsible for worldwide recruiting for the Army and the development of officers, with the command reaching from South Korea to Germany.


Ben Freakley

The three-star general was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, a Bronze Star for Valor, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, the Combat Infantry badge, the Combat Action badge, Ranger Tab, Airborne, and Air Assault badges.

In his retirement, Gen. Freakley, who holds a master’s degree in military art and science from the School of Advanced Military Studies, has been active in higher education. He is a leadership professor at Arizona State University, where he also serves as special advisor to ASU President Michael Crow for Leadership Initiatives and co-founded the ASU Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security Lab.

“I am honored to serve on the college board to endeavor to help Laurel Ridge develop and advance talent across our area,” said Gen. Freakley. “Higher education provides an opportunity for our students to reach for and achieve their dreams.”

He is married to the former Susan French, of Woodstock, and they have five sons, four daughters-in-law and 12 grandchildren.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.