Whether in the Marine Corps for 3 or 30 years, retired and former Marines possess similar traits such as committment, a high moral and work ethic, and pride in our service.  After successful tours and careers, many of us have left the Marines and joined the corporate world often transfering these traits into the leadership and energy needed for business success.  For corporate executives, and those desiring of this career path, sharing ideas, networking, collaboration, and building teams of trusted advisors and partners is a must.  And to engage in these activities within the common bond of Marine Corps service is exponentially powerful.  Mike Van Horn founded the Marine Business Council (MBC) to do just that - to bring together Marines now serving in or aspiring to senior executive roles in business.  Mike is a former Sergeant and Captain and is passionate about the foundation he received in the Marine Corps, and the power of that continued bond with likeminded former Marines in the marketplace.  The MBC is in it's infancy but networking and building relationships is core to our charter.  We continue to grow our sphere of interested members and to solicit ideas on what would be valuable to them in a former Marine community of business executives.  At the same time we are continuing to take small steps in providing value, such as giving back to the community in the Staff Sergeant Benton Memorial Scholarship Fund.  If the MBC intent resonates with you, please contact Mike Van Horn at [email protected] to join our growing interested member list.

About Mike:

Mike joined the Marine Corps at age 17 as a Infantry Rifleman.  In his time as an enlisted Marine, he went on to transfer to a AAV crewman specialty, participate in Desert Storm, and be promoted to Sergeant.  Mike went on to get his commission as an Artillery Officer serving as Executive Officer Battery "K" 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines, and in numerous positions at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego to include Series Commander, Company Commander and Assistant Operations Officer, Recruit Training Regiment.  Mike left the Marines in 2000 and has since worked for Perot Systems and Deloitte Consulting in professional services sales and business development leadership roles.  He lives in Southern California with his wife and two sons.


Staff Sergeant Benton Memorial Scholarship
The Staff Sergeant Benton Memorial Scholarship Fund was created within the California State University system to honor the memory of SSgt Michael P. Benton.  Staff Sergeant Benton joined the Marine Corps in June, 1991.  Upon completion of basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, he attended the Amphibious Assault Crewman's School at Camp Pendleton, California.  In January of 1992 SSgt Benton was assigned to Company B, 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion as an AAV Crewman, where he deployed three times, including Somalia for Operation Restore Hope.  His outstanding leadership and excellent performance earned him special recognition and transfer to the Amphibious Assault School where he served as an MOS instructor.  In October, 1997 SSgt Benton returned to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego and attended Drill Instructor School, Class 1-98.  Following graduation he was assigned to Company L, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion.

In Company L, Staff Sergeant Benton completed two full cycles transferring over 100 young men into the Marines.  As a Drill Instructor, SSgt Benton often worked over 16-hour days and displayed an unparalleled work ethic.  His dedication served as a model of professionalism for recruits and drill instructors alike.  His enthusiasm and strong personal character earned him the respect of his peers and all that knew him.

On August 9, 1998 in the performance of his duties, Staff Sergeant Benton died unexpectedly of a brain aneurysm while training with Platoon 1997. 

SSgt Benton had a promising career and life ahead of him, and this scholarship seeks to honor his positive effect on those he touched in his short life as well as his obvious potential by helping support other young men and women Marines or former Marines in the financing of a college education.  The Scholarship is entering the third year and 4 awards have been made to date.  This scholarship is a California Nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation.  Please contact Michael Van Horn to contribute or apply for the scholarship.