A Keres, from Cochiti Pueblo, at the age of 15, Ben Quintana won first prize over 80 contestants, of whom 7 were Indians, for a poster to be used in the Coronado Cuarto Centennial celebration. Later, he won first prize and $1,000 in an American Magazine contest in which there were 52,587 entries.
His life and promising career were tragically cut short by World War II. According to the publication Indians in the War by the U.S. Department of the Navy, Quintana was cited for gallantry in action and awarded the Silver Star posthumously. According to the citation, Ben was "an ammunition carrier in a light machine gun squadron charged with protection of the right flank of his troop which was counterattacked by superior numbers." The gunner was killed and the assistant gunner severely wounded. "Private Quintana," the citation continues, "refused to retire from this hazardous position and gallantly rushed forward to the silenced gun and delivered a withering fire into the enemy, inflicting heavy casualties. While so engaged he was mortally wounded. By this extraordinary courage he repulsed the counterattack and prevented the envelopment of the right flank of his troop. Private Quintana's unflinching devotion to duty and heroism under fire inspired his troop to attack and seize the enemy strong point."
Indians in The War, 1945, U.S. Department of The Navy