Following in a father’s footsteps

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 6, 2010

Growing up in a military family, it might seem natural for the sons of retired U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William L. Campbell, 48, of Ironton, to be following in their father’s footsteps.

Corporal William N. Campbell of Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station South Carolina was promoted to Sergeant E-5 on June 2 and Neil A. Campbell of Travis Air Force Base Fairfield, Calif., will be promoted to Technical Sergeant E-6 on July 1.

William N. Campbell, 28, has been serving in the military for about seven years, and Neil Campbell, 25, has been serving for about five years.

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“I really didn’t encourage either one of them to join, they did it on their own,” William L. Campbell said. “I think it was us traveling all over the world, seeing what the military does, and out of pride for the country.”

William L. Campbell said he is very proud of both of his sons.

“The younger son in the Air Force, the rank that he puts on is the rank I retired at,” he said. “He has been promoted to E-4, E-5, and E-6 the first time, ahead of everyone else. That’s very hard to do.”

The ranking of Technical Sergeant E-6 is what William L. Campbell finished at during his service in the Air Force.

“He has already caught me and it took me 15 years to do it,” he said.

William L. Campbell served in the Air Force for a total of 22 years and he and both sons are Gulf War veterans.

“I’m very proud of them being in the military,” he said. “It’s hard because you don’t get to see them all the time, but I understand that.”

Leslie D. Campbell, 47, the mother of the two servicemen, said being able to keep in contact with her sons is what makes not having them around bearable.

“We’re able to talk, e-mail or text almost every day,” she said. “Being able to talk to them and knowing that they’re in a church where they can get help if they need it helps.”

William L. Campbell described his sons as loving sports and the outdoors and keeping up to date on what’s going on in the world.

“Both are very outgoing, outspoken and always up on current events and are very vocal about how the government is going,” he said.

Grandparents of both sons are Homer and Yvonne Campbell of Ironton and the late Lesley R. Gannon and Evelyn Gannon of Ironton.