By American Forces Press ServiceOctober 29, 2008
FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq - A Multinational Division Baghdad Soldier from the 10th Mountain Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team who draws his motivation from a World War II hero joined the exclusive company of Soldiers who have earned membership in the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club here in September.
Sgt. 1st Class Calvin Cameron, who hails from College Park, Ga., and serves with the Brigade Special Troops Battalion, was nominated by Master Sgt. Ron Camp, his supervisor, to compete for the privilege of becoming a Sgt. Audie Murphy Club member.
Murphy, who went on to become a Hollywood movie star, was World War II's most decorated U.S. Soldier. The Sgt. Audie Murphy Club began in 1986 at Fort Hood, Texas. It expanded to include all of 3rd Corps five years later, grew to include all of Forces Command in 1993, and a year later it expanded Armywide.
Camp said he nominated Cameron because "he has a strong aggression to accomplish the mission before he's told to."
Cameron said his interest in joining the Army dates back to when he was a student at Benjamin Banneker High School and a teacher asked her students to write a report on someone from a list of 50 notable people. Cameron said he chose Murphy as his subject only because his name seemed different.
But his research on Murphy and his accomplishments inspired and motivated him to serve his nation in the Army, Cameron said, and eventually drove him to excel to the point that he would earn membership in the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club.
As Cameron began his research, he said, he began to see how Murphy overcame most of the obstacles he faced with his personal courage and sheer determination, and he summoned up those qualities within himself. "With the help of the recruiter and the example of Audie Murphy," he said, "I was able to lose a massive amount of weight to join the Army."
Though Murphy was an infantryman, Cameron chose to be a fires support specialist. "As I read the Audie Murphy story," he explained, "I got excited after he picked up a [hand microphone] in a burned-out armored personenl carrier to call for fire. Giving them the enemy's position saved the whole platoon. That earned him the Medal of Honor."
Murphy's story motivated him to make a life-changing decision, Cameron said.
"When I was in high school, I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life until I read his story," he said. "I knew for sure after writing the report on Audie Murphy that I was going to join the Army, because I wanted to be somewhat like him."
He said he was even more motivated when he read about Murphy overcoming his own internal demons in his battle against his addiction to the prescription drugs given to him for "shell shock" after World War II.
"Murphy recognized he had a problem with drugs and decided to go 'cold turkey' off the drugs by locking himself up in a hotel room for a week to deal with the withdrawal," said Cameron. "I was really impressed then."
Cameron said he channeled that determination against his own inner struggle - his weight.
"The recruiter told me that I was overweight by over 100 pounds, and I could not join until I lost the weight," he said.
And up stepped another motivating force, his Army recruiter, who worked with Cameron for a year while he was in the delayed entry program to help him lose the weight and achieve his goal. Cameron ultimately succeeded in his battle over his weight problem and he became a member of the Army team in June 2000 as a fires support specialist, and now he offers advice to fellow Soldiers.
"Speed bumps will always come, but once you hit that speed bump, don't quit," he said. "Just keep trucking so you can accomplish your goals. Once you accomplish your goal, set your next goal and accomplish it as well."
Cameron said his next goal is to achieve the rank of master sergeant within 12 years of service.
"I have done great things in the Army, and the Army is the only thing that I know and I love," he said. "I met my wife, who is my soulmate, and we had our four boys in the Army. Everything I have, I have because of the Army."
(From a Multinational Division Baghdad news release.)