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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Silver Taps: Keith ‘Benton’ Arnold

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To those closest to him, Benton Arnold was more than just a kind-hearted man ­— he was a shoulder to lean on.
“He was just a wonderful human being,” his girlfriend Olivia Conner said. “Passionate about people and trying to make people happy when you feel like it’s impossible to be. There are few people in the world who can do what he did and make everyone happy.”
From his father Keith Arnold’s perspective, Benton Arnold wasn’t simply kind to others — he saw it as his responsibility to look after those around him.
“He and I talked about that when he was growing up, you know, how big is your circle?” Keith Arnold said. “Some people have a circle that includes just themselves. Some people have a circle that includes their whole family, and others are fortunate enough to be able to form circles that are much larger than themselves and include not just their family but other people in the community.”
Benton Arnold’s outgoing personality led him to not only participate in numerous activities but to make lasting friendships along the way. Growing up, he was active in Boy Scouts of America and played basketball, baseball and football. During his time at Texas A&M, Benton Arnold was a member of the A&M wrestling team and had plans to race the Mazda Miata he and his father restored a week before his death.
“I don’t think he had an enemy anywhere,” Keith Arnold said. “I mean he was really friendly. He actually was an extrovert, and like a lot of extroverts he drew energy from being with a lot of people, so he seemed to make friends everywhere he went.”
Keith Arnold said Benton Arnold especially loved being in the Corps. Although he found the physical side of the Corps challenging, Keith Arnold said he never heard Benton Arnold say a discouraging word about the Corps.
Instead, Keith Arnold said Benton Arnold would stress the fulfilling values of the Corps and the bonds with other cadets.
“I asked him one time, ‘Why did you join the Corps?’ because I wasn’t against it, but I didn’t encourage it,” Keith Arnold said. “He said, ‘You know, I want that experience and camaraderie, I want to be a central part of Texas A&M. I don’t want to be on the sidelines participating, I want to be right in the midst of it.’ I said ‘It’s going to be hard, it’s not easy,’ and he was okay with that.”
Keith Arnold said Benton Arnold brought both perseverance and a caring nature to his unit, Squadron 4.
“He seemed to like the idea of being the guy who took care of other people, took care of the underdog,” Keith Arnold said. “He would often tell me stories about some of the people when he was a fish in the Corps — some of the cadets would be struggling, or whatever — and how he felt it was his responsibility to help lift them up and help encourage them, help them to achieve whatever the group was trying to do.”
Keith Arnold said Benton Arnold always loved hard work and by the age of 15, Benton Arnold and a friend had restored an old pick-up bought for $500.
“Even as a kid, he wouldn’t hang around and play, he wanted to be with the men,” Keith Arnold said. “He’d rather spend his day out in the shop talking with mechanics. Talking with farmers, riding the combine and things like that with the guys, even though he was a little guy. He wanted to be where the men were, he wanted to be a man’s man.”

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