News>Feature - Everyone Has A Story: Why did Airman 1st Class Cameron Enlist?
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Shanique Cameron, 633rd Force Support Squadron fitness specialist, writes down the number of people currently using cardio equipment on her checklist inside the Shellbank Fitness Center at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Sept. 6, 2012. The checklist is completed several times a day by fitness center staff to track the overall usage of the facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Wesley Farnsworth / Released)
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Shanique Cameron, 633rd Force Support Squadron fitness specialist, helps people develop workout routines and answers any facility and equipment questions patrons may have. She has been in the Air Force a little more than a year, and plans to make it a career. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Wesley Farnsworth / Released)
by Staff Sgt. Wesley Farnsworth
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
9/11/2012 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- This story is part of the 2012 Joint Base Langley-Eustis fall series, highlighting individuals with interesting stories.
Stop any Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman in uniform, and each will give you a different reason why they chose to raise their right hand to join the military.
Airman 1st Class Shanique Cameron, a fitness specialist with the 633rd Force Support Squadron, is no different.
"I joined the Air Force for the guaranteed job and educational benefits," Cameron said, simply.
Cameron enlisted a little more than a year ago, on Sept. 6, 2011, choosing an "open general" career field, meaning she would take any available job.
"After graduating from high school, I looked for over a year for a job," said Cameron, a native of Dayton, Ohio. "But I wasn't having much luck because of little employment history and experience."
After weighing her choices, Cameron carefully considered information previously provided by her parents about the military before making her choice to enlist. Both of her parents are veterans of the U.S. Army.
"My parents told me about the benefits and how life-changing it would be before I considered coming in," Cameron said. "They both told me I should join the Air Force if I was going to enlist."
Cameron's mother Sharon Coates was very proud of her daughter's choice to enlist.
"I knew it would be a good opportunity serve and go to college at the same time," Coates said. "I'd love to see her stay in and retire from the Air Force."
Her mother also recognizes how unique Cameron's decision was.
"She is the only one from her generation of our family to enlist," she said. "I'm very proud of her."
In addition to her family's pride, Cameron is also recognized by her leadership as an outstanding Airman who goes above and beyond to help her wingmen.
"Cameron is one of my go-to Airmen," said Tech. Sgt. Julie Nix, 633rd FSS, NCO in charge of the Shellbank Fitness Center. "I can always count on her to get things done."
Cameron recently completed her mandatory career development course material, and is looking forward to starting college classes.
"It's great knowing that I can go to school without having to worry about the loans and other expenses that most college students have to worry about," she said. "I also like that I'll be able to pass on my educational benefits to my future children."
Cameron plans on attending school and earning a bachelor's degree in early childhood education.
"I've been around smaller children all my life, and I want to become a part of molding their future," Cameron said. "Eventually, I would like to become a principal and then the superintendent of a school district."
When not at work or planning her education, Cameron also enjoys volunteering with the Airman and Family Readiness Center, and recently she started the application process to become a "Big," with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
"I always wanted a little sister when I was growing up," Cameron said. "This is one way I'm able to get that and give back at the same time."
Looking back at her first year in the Air Force, Cameron said she has never regretted her decision to enlist.
"I know that I am making a better life for myself and my own family in the future."