Deployed Soldier Runs Gamut from Infantry to Personnel Office
By Army Staff Sgt. Amber Emery
American Forces Press Service
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq, Nov. 24, 2008 Army Spc. Anthony Calhoun has discovered that sometimes the things we don’t plan, work out the best.
Army Spc. Anthony Calhoun, left, 10th Mountain Division Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System operator and New Orleans native, reviews retirement paperwork with Army Staff Sgt. Ellis Andrew, common ground station noncommissioned officer in charge, 10th Mountain Division, and native of Rochester, N.Y. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Emery
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Calhoun didn’t plan to enlist in the Army. But once he did, he realized it was his calling. From infantryman to administrative specialist, he has had a spectrum of experiences in his Army career. Currently, he is a 10th Mountain Division Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System operator.
“Honestly, I don’t know why I joined. I was just watching TV, and it looked fun -- jumping out of helicopters,” the New Orleans native said. “I have always been infatuated with tanks and helicopters and things like that. I guess it was just in my blood; it was kind of like a childhood dream to try it out.”
Calhoun enlisted in 1999 and served the next six years with the 3rd Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade. He was deployed multiple times, including for a two-year tour at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“At the time, the length of the deployment didn’t bother me. The people you are around make a big difference,” Calhoun said. “You adopt each other as family … your military family is actually closer. It’s weird, but we would all die for each other.
“I got used to the field time. That’s all we ever did was train, so I was prepared for it.”
Asked what his favorite job position was, Calhoun doesn’t hesitate: It was when he moved from team leader to squad leader right before the kick off of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“I got to lead soldiers in combat. I feel I am a natural born leader. Some people you have to teach to lead, but I feel it is one of my best assets to lead,” Calhoun said. “I am a take charge type of person.”
Calhoun had a two-year break in service from 2005 to 2007, during which he spent time with his family. He re-enlisted, he said, because he loved what he was doing.
“My three children -- Destiny, 11, Tyreik, 10, and Trayvion, 8 -- think it is just one of the most wonderful jobs in the world,” he said. “Daddy was fighting bad people, and daddy was in Iraq.”
Since his return to active duty, Calhoun left the front lines to take his current position with 10th Mountain Division. His work here includes providing identification cards, retirement packets, supervising finance, and assisting with awards and personnel actions.
“Being with 10th Mountain is a whole different ball game for me because I am used to the mechanized world,” he said. “So, it is totally different. You have to be more professional here than anything, especially with the job I have. Being on line is totally different than being in a division element. It is like going from day to night.”
Comparing Iraq’s current state of affairs to his previous deployment here, Calhoun feels the improvements in security prove coalition forces are doing the right thing.
“I have been outside the wire twice since I’ve been here,” he said. “Seeing what it was from when I was here before to seeing it now, it is really amazing.”
Calhoun’s future plans include pursuing his promotion to sergeant and eventually putting in a packet to become a warrant officer in the aviation field.
“I’ve done everything else I’ve wanted to do so far,” he said. “I’ve been in the Bradley’s, I’ve shot a tank, I’ve been around all kinds of artillery on the ground. The one thing left to do that I haven’t done is to fly a [helicopter].”
(Army Staff Sgt. Amber Emery works for Multinational Division –Center Public Affairs.)