With his family looking on, George Campbell “Cam” Mansfield V was sworn into the U.S. Navy in December in Indianapolis.
His father, George Mansfield IV, served in the Navy for 10 years, and that inspired him to follow suit after he graduates from Sandy Creek Christian Academy in Seymour.
The swearing-in ceremony was a special moment because it marked the beginning of what he hopes is a long career.
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“To take the first step in my military career, I’m really excited because I want to be in there for 20 years, and the fact that my dad was there and my family was there, I was proud,” the 18-year-old said.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, he will be among the 11 Sandy Creek students receiving their diplomas during commencement at The Tabernacle in downtown Seymour. Officials say that’s the largest graduating class since the school opened as Seymour Christian Academy in 1984.
Mansfield currently is in the Navy’s Delayed Entry Program, which requires him to meet with his recruiter in Columbus twice a month. That will continue until he leaves for boot camp Sept. 12 in Great Lakes, Illinois, north of Chicago.
After eight weeks of boot camp, he will spend the next six weeks going through A school for technical training and C school for hands-on training to become an aviation machinist’s mate, which is an aircraft mechanic.
Mansfield will then return home for five days to meet with his recruiter one last time and then be deployed for six to nine months. He won’t find out until then if that will be within or outside the United States.
Once he completes his four-year contract as an aviation machinist’s mate, Mansfield said his goal is to re-enlist to try to get into the challenging yearlong explosive ordnance disposal school.
Ultimately, he wants to become an EOD technician, where he would be trained to disarm improvised explosive devices, neutralize chemical threats and render safe nuclear weapons.
EOD is a part of the Navy’s special operations.
“These are all extremely hard to get into,” Mansfield said. “It’s a lot of training.”
He said he is ready to get started with his military career because it allows him to fulfill a longtime goal.
Born in Russia, Mansfield was there for nine months until he was adopted and brought to the United States. At that time, his father, who was a dentist in the Navy, was stationed at a base in Virginia.
“I’ve always wanted to join the military my entire life, ever since I was little,” he said. “First, it was the Army. Then around my freshman year up to my junior year, it was the Marines. I was actually really considering the Marines. Then my dad, who was in the Navy, influenced me into the Navy.”
Mansfield grew up attending public schools until enrolling at Seymour Christian Academy when he was in sixth grade.
He said that wound up being a good decision, especially with the small class sizes.
“It’s really nice because I like that close interaction with the teachers,” he said. “They help you through assignments and stuff. They work with you individually, so it just makes things easier to understand. Some stuff is difficult, but if you get your homework done, you’re going to be successful here and just keep studying.”
He also has become close to his classmates.
“I’m friends with everybody,” he said. “I really wouldn’t change anybody here. It has been great the way it is.”
Mansfield said he has made a lot of memories in school.
“You can never take away memories, and the memories here have been amazing,” he said. “It’s going to help me through life. It really has changed me as a person.”
After graduation, he plans to make more memories in the Navy.
“I’ve always just wanted to serve my country,” he said. “This country has amazing benefits, and it gives you opportunities you wouldn’t have anywhere else, and I just want to pay it back.”
Name: George Campbell “Cam” Mansfield V
School: Sandy Creek Christian Academy
School activities: Basketball, National Honor Society
Future plans: He was sworn into the U.S. Navy in December and plans to leave for boot camp Sept. 12 in Great Lakes, Illinois; he will work toward becoming an aviation machinist’s mate, and his ultimate goal is to become an explosive ordnance disposal technician
Family: Parents, George Mansfield IV and Tiffiny Mansfield; sister, Courtney Mansfield
What: Sandy Creek Christian Academy commencement
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Tabernacle, 301 Indianapolis Ave., Seymour
Who: 11 seniors will graduate