Local News

Military Career Man Encourages Younger Soldiers to Stay the Course

Posted February 16, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— More and more soldiers are choosing to leave the military to pursue other careers. But there are those who have made the military their careers and are encouraging others to do the same.

Command Sergeant Major Clyde Hamilton has been in the military since the Vietnam War.

"The love for the Army, the love to travel, the love of going through Europe," Hamilton says of theArmy, which has been his life and career for 29 years.

Hamilton has seen a lot of changes over three decades. Among them, more minorities and opportunities in the military.

Today's Army is 30 percent African American and 15 percent female. Hamilton would like to see those trends continue.

The 50-year-old makes it a point to talk with young soldiers about why they should stick around. Hamilton sometimes gets frustrated at their decision to leave the military early.

"The hard part is we trained them so well that opportunity on the outside is great, and kids are going for it," he says.

Hamilton says the Army gave him discipline. Younger soldiers say his wisdom gives them a reason to succeed.

"I can come to him and say 'Sergeant Major, I need some help. What would you do in this situation, can you give me some guidance?' He's a real approachable person," says Sgt. Beth Kane.

Hamilton's goal was to reach 1st Sergeant. As a Command Sergeant Major for the 507th Corps Support Group, he has surpassed it.

Hamilton is one of 342 Black Command Sergeant Majors in the Army. He plans to retire in the fall of 2001.