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Pfc. Walter Kellam

Unit: 508th Transportation Company, 266th Quartermaster Battalion

Military occupational specialty: 88M – motor transport operator

Age: 22

Hometown: Miami

Time in service: 18 months

Describe your personality: “I would say I’m pretty straightforward, hard-working, focused and ambitious. On the negative side, I have a temper at times due to some of the things I’ve experienced.”

Pastimes: “I hang out with family, and I work on building weapons (small arms).”

Worst fear: “Not making it to see my kids grow up and graduate.”

Dream car: “Anything old school – like a (Chevrolet) El Camino, (Oldsmobile) Cutlass Supreme or (Chevrolet) Monte Carlo SS.”

One person you admire: “I would say Officer Austin (a Miami-area policeman). He was my Police Explorer mentor. He was in the Marines and is a great leader. He steered me straight, got me focused and that’s pretty much why I’m here.”

Who you were before joining the Army: “I was unfocused, running the streets with my friends. If it wasn’t for the program (Police Explorers), I would’ve wound up in jail.”

Your ideal life: “I want to be financially stable, live in a place where my kids can grow up safe and comfortable, be a retiree and run my own youth advocacy program – my way of doing what Officer Austin did for me.”

If you won the lottery … “I would definitely start investing money in homes, my kids’ future and my youth program.”

Talk about your upbringing: “I grew up in a place called Gulds in South Florida. I was raised in my grandmother’s house and grew up with a lot of cousins, uncles and aunts. We were very family oriented. We moved to Miami Gardens when I was in the 8th grade, and that’s when that ‘troubled kid’ kind of came along. I lived freely as a kid and found ways to get into things.”

Your reason for joining the Army: “To get away from the people I was hanging around. I had a lot of friends who were dying. I was trying to get into law enforcement and found out I had a child on the way. My wife was already in the military, and she was stationed in Washington (state). I picked up everything and left. I figured that was a great reason to start over; I wouldn’t be around all the people who were influencing me to do the wrong things.”

Did the Army fulfill your expectations? “I did and didn’t. It’s given me all the tools I need to get to where I want to be, but there are some things that were not what I thought they’d be. I was looking for something more fast-paced.”

Why you chose to be a motor transport operator: “I really chose this job because of my kids and family. If I didn’t have them in my life, I would’ve done something a little crazier.”

What you like about your job: “I like the vehicles and finding out new things about them. That’s pretty fun.”

If you were not an 88M: “I think I would be a 31K – dog handler. I would love to do that.”

What it means to wear the uniform: “It’s like an honor. When people see you in uniform, they think more of you. It’s a challenge to me. The same people might see me out of uniform doing something crazy. I’ve got to make sure I’m the same person they see in uniform.”

Your idea of a good leader: “In my eyes, a leader can’t be expected to accomplish everything you need done; they can’t fix every problem. If that person can try to guide me to where I need to be… to me that’s a good leader.”

Your idea of a good Soldier: “Someone who stays focused. Like they say, ‘right uniform, right place, right time’ and getting the job done.”

Best things about the Army: “Meeting new people.”

Worst thing about the Army: “Doing stuff that makes absolutely no sense.”

Where you see yourself in five years: “Pinning that (E-5) rank on and grinding enough to move up the ranks beyond that.”