“It was absolutely a betrayal. We looked these men in the eye and told them if they assisted our forces, we were going to get them and their families a safe path to America. And I guess being the idealistic people that we are, we fully believed that is exactly what was going to happen. Even with the timeline approaching, and us thinking there’s really no realistic way to do this, I think we all still believed that it was going to work out. And then, come the 15th of August, I got a call from somebody at the Pentagon, another contractor. And I realized there is no plan. They are scrambling. There is nothing that has been planned out.”

- Benjamin Jackson Owen

My name is Benjamin Jackson Owen. I’m an Army infantry veteran, a father to eight children, a graduate of the University of Alabama, and a proud American patriot. From Fortune 500s to startups, I’ve excelled in leadership, strategy, raising brand awareness, and sales. A lover of anything outdoors or firearms, when not working my day job at BlackRifle Co., I can most often be found (or not found) spending time in the North Georgia mountains with my kids. I’m an experienced subject matter expert on data intelligence and digital media, and my small and medium-sized enterprises have helped me greatly in my endeavors at Flanders Fields (FlandersFields.org).

I formally founded Flanders Fields in March 2021. We recieved our Internal Revenue Service approval of 501(c)(3) status on August 16th, the day after Kabul fell. While the mission was always to provide clean living and job training and placement to veterans, it was a logical progression of the Flanders’ mission to leverage my expertise on ‘hiding in plain sight’, standing up, furnishing, feeding, and closing down housing on a moment’s notice, and quietly moving high-risk and high-value individuals from Point A to Point B. I did so for the Afghan allies we left behind, right under the noses of those seeking them. In tandem, much of my device-level data expertise was put to early use in vetting allies, locating missing relatives, and plotting safe ground routes based on lack of device activity.

A formerly homeless and heroin addicted veteran myself, I have a bleeding heart for those suffering. In 2011, my wife and I took in an old Army buddy who had lost a leg in Iraq and had become addicted to opiates. We gave him a place to sleep and a job at the business we owned at the time. Eventually my buddy was able to sustain himself and went off on his own, but the experience gave new purpose to my life. Thus, the early Flanders concept was born. By mid-2014, I had stood up 14 ‘safehouses’ in South Memphis, not only providing clean living for veterans struggling with addiction, but also facilitating an underground railroad of sorts for high-risk individuals seeking escape from organized crime and sex trafficking. My efforts in the mid-south resulted in my being kidnapped for ransom twice and stabbed once. I’ve since consulted with a variety of agencies and courts on tackling organized crime, gang activity, and drug trafficking.