Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Air Force Veteran Randolph Camp, who served in Japan and California and later became a writer.
After he graduated high school, Randolph Camp enlisted in the Air Force in 1979 with the hope to travel. He loved reading about sociology and the cultures of different countries around the world, but financially, traveling was not an option.
Camp completed boot camp at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, where he was able to overcome challenges due to his belief that every moment is a chance to learn how to be better. He was then stationed at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, where he met a woman that he views as a second mother and is still friends with to this day.
Camp went to Kadena Air Base in Japan as a part of a Military Airlift Command unit. During his field duty, he served as a food service specialist. He was trained in institutionalized and mass-produced cooking on large gas burners for a few hundred people.
Camp took full advantage of his 30-day leaves. He would use to travel home and see his family or visit another country. While traveling, he learned about many different cultures, wrote short stories and collected coins. He also sent his family members foreign currency and gifts like kimonos from Japan and beer steins from Germany. One of Camp’s most unforgettable trips was his visit to Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. His most memorable experience while serving was writing short stories at night in the quiet tent cities of Egypt, which reminded him of his childhood nights in Virginia.
Serving in the Air Force enabled Camp to fulfill his dream of traveling the world and inspired him to be a better writer. He received an Air Force Commendation Medal for serving as an instructor at a correctional facility in mainland Japan, where he taught about sociology, behavior and culture. Camp discharged at Travis Air Force Base in 1985 with the rank of staff sergeant. He then focused on not only transitioning to civilian life, but also readjusting from living in Japan to living in America.
After he left the Air Force, Camp worked as a cook at a hospital in California and as a security officer at a TV station in Los Angeles. As an inspiring screen writer, Camp learned about the movie industry through this experience, which he called “a poor man’s version of film school.” Camp also volunteered at the I Have a Dream Foundation to support education for children in under-resourced communities. Currently, he works as a patient export at the VA Medical Center in Buffalo, New York.
Camp’s short stories have since been turned into screenplays. In 2007, he was a quarterfinalist in the Writers Network 14th Annual Screenplay and Fiction Competition. Camp has published four books, two of which–“Wet Matches: A Novel” and “…Then The Rain”–are fiction contest winners.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Hannah Nelson
Editor: Christopher Wilson
Fact checker: Alexandria Davenport, Shiv Lamba
Graphic artist: Roni Ruadap