Name: Spc. Charles Acheampong
Unit: Medical Department Activity
MOS: 68W - health care specialist
Time in service: four years
Hometown: Bronx, N.Y. (by way of Kumasi, Ghana)
Family: married with two children
Describe yourself: "I'm easygoing, and I like to try new and different things. I'm also a family man."
Strengths: "I'm a strong person. I don't get offended easily. I'm always trying to improve myself, and I never look back."
Weaknesses: "I might have weaknesses but ... I can't think of one now."
Your talent: "I can read people fast. It takes me a couple of minutes or no more than a couple of days to know who you really are."
Biggest regret: "I should've studied hard (in college) to become what I wanted to become. I always wanted to be a doctor, but for some reason, I partied too much. If I had a chance to do it all over, I would focus more."
The person you most admire: "My wife. She's beautiful; she takes care of the kids; she cleans and cooks; and she understands me. She's everything a man wants. It's very hard to find someone like her."
One defining moment: "When I joined the Army., my parents and friends were not supportive of the decision. But it was something I always wanted to do. I really don't have any regrets."
Why the Army and not one of the other services?: "The Army had more opportunities. The rest had only a couple of jobs, but in the Army, you could be anything. You could be a mechanic, a driver, anything. And if you don't like a job, you can change."
Did the Army fulfill your initial expectations?: "Yes, but it didn't exceed my expectations. Money-wise, the pay is not very good, but the benefits are very good."
There is a lot of stress on military families. What advice do you have to keep families strong?: "First of all, spend your free time with your family. You never know when you might be gone. We are Soldiers 24/7. Secondly, sit down your wife and kids and let them know what the Army is all about. Tell them we have ‘our time' and we have ‘Army time.' Prepare them for separation so that they won't be shocked when it happens."
Talk about your deployment to Iraq (2008-2009): "I was a petroleum supply specialist. We were on a convoy to some village. We had vehicles that could detect IEDs. I was in the middle of the convoy riding in a truck full of fuel. The lead vehicle detected an IED, stopped and we called the EOD guys. We backed up the convoy, and they blew it up. We were 300 meters from the explosion, and it still shook the trucks. It would've killed a lot of people (if it hadn't been detected). It could've been me who was killed. I will never forget that."
What's your understanding of the inherent sacrifices that come with military service?: "As a Soldier, you shouldn't be scared to die. I thought about that before I joined. I know my life could end any day, but so can any civilian's. They can walk the streets one day, and the next day they are gone. If I can die as a civilian, why can't I die in the Army? I'm not too worried about it. Like I tell most of my friends who are in the Army and who are scared to go to war: ‘When you put on the uniform, you should be ready to sacrifice your life on any given day.'"
Best thing about the Army: "Opportunities."
Worst thing: "We don't get a lot of time to spend with our families."
What are your goals?: "I have a degree in pharmacology. I want to go to OCS, get my master's and go to physician assistant school."