A Look At America’s Newest Generation of Fighting Men and Women
Spc. Clayton Pendergrass is America's Military for June 14.

Name: Spc. Clayton Pendergrass

Unit: 392nd U.S. Army Band

MOS: 42R – bandsman (trombone player)

Time in Service: one year

Age: 19

Hometown: Cocoa, Fla.

Family: father, Scott Pendergrass

Pastimes: “Music, reading, studying science and literature, history and art. I also have a WWII (video game) that I spend a lot of time with.”

Who are you?: “I’m very tenacious. I strive to do the best I can in anything I pursue. Also, I consider myself to have a very good sense of humor. I think it’s essential to laugh at yourself.”

One life-changing event: “The first time I listened to Mahler’s Symphony No. 4. I immediately understood the agony we all go through and the fact that you can work hard all your life and not get what you expect, but what was really important what you learned along the way.”

Recent accomplishment: “Joining the Army and being a member of the 392nd and performing with my steel band in Florida.”

Worst fear: “The downfall of society, the eventual cataclysm of the human race. It’s unfortunately something that we’re coming close to everyday.”

Why I joined the Army: “I joined to give myself a little time to think about what I wanted to do, while gaining work experience and life experiences, and of course the GI bill.”

If I wasn’t in the Army: “I would be a percussion major at Florida State University or a street bum.”

If I could change one thing about the Army: “I think that basic (training) should be longer. I don’t think that spending nine weeks was long enough to make me feel comfortable in a combat zone.”

The person I most admire: “John Williams, the composer. He’s written so much great music, and he changed the way that music was integrated into movies.”

What historical figure would you like to be: “I would’ve liked to been one of the people present at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. One of the most amazing events in history would have been the establishment of a democratic society. I would’ve loved to have been a part of that.”

What I would do for my fellow Soldiers: “The best way to help Soldiers is to give them the most inspired and competent leaders, and cost should be no object in that pursuit.”

What makes a good leader: “A leader is someone who brings out the best in his subordinates and his peers.”

What makes a good Soldier: “Someone who lives by all the Army values and take their jobs very seriously. Besides being able to perform our Soldierly duties, our biggest responsibility is being an ethical being.”

Best thing about being in the Army: “A steady income and the exposure to top quality musicians.”

Values: “They overlap with the Army values. The most important value I live by is honor. I think honor is the ability to negotiate moral dilemmas and the integrity and intestinal fortitude to act upon one’s perception.”

Motivation: “What really gets me out of bed in the morning is the fact that I know I’m fighting for the pursuit of freedom. On a personal scale, music is what rally drives me and the constant pursuit to make better music and be the best musician I can be.”

Goals: “I want to deploy to Iraq, support our troops and help instill in them the will to fight and win. Long-term, I’d like to pursue a master’s degree in music and possibly become a senior enlisted leader as a bandsman.”