A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Musician First Class Benjamin Coker holds a Bachelor of Music Performance degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of Georgia, where he studied classical guitar with John Sutherland.
Throughout the 1990’s, MU1 Coker was involved in a variety of musical pursuits, which included teaching private music lessons, working as a studio musician, and performing with jazz and Rhythm & Blues groups. From 1993 to 2003, he was the guitarist with the corporate wedding/oldies cover band “Straight Up.” In 2001, he performed classical guitar and was chosen as a recitalist at Christopher Parkening’s master class in Bozeman, Montana, which led to an opportunity to give a solo classical guitar concert at the University of Houston in March 2002. MU1 Coker was a tenor vocalist in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus from 2000-2003. In 2003, their recording of Vaughan Williams’ “A Sea Symphony” earned two Grammy awards: Best Classical Album and Best Choral Performance.
MU1 Coker joined the U.S. Navy in April 2003. Upon completion of Musician "A" School, he reported to ATLANTIC Fleet Band in Norfolk, Virginia for duty with the top-40 band "Four Star Edition." After detaching from ATLANTIC Fleet Band in December 2006, he reported for duty in Yokosuka, Japan with the SEVENTH Fleet Band to play guitar with the show band "Far East Edition.” While assigned to SEVENTH Fleet, he embarked on the flagship USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC-19) and performed extensively throughout the band's area of responsibility, which included Republic of Korea, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Malaysia, Guam, Indonesia, and Australia. He also performed twice with the Tokyo Symphony.
MU1 Coker reported to the Naval Academy Band in December 2008 and currently performs with the Navy’s premier popular music group, Electric Brigade. As a collateral duty, he serves as Assistant Education Services Officer.
MU1 Coker holds the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) qualification. His personal awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3 awards), Navy Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and the Overseas Service Ribbon.