by Brian Lamar, U.S. Navy Public Affairs
It was a typical night in the Naval Construction Battalion Center’s family housing area. Outside, a dog barked in the distance while the streetlights hummed their familiar tune. Calm and peacefulness hugged the row of homes like a blanket in the Magnolia II neighborhood.
The Cameron family were deep into their nightly routine. Legalman 1st Class James Cameron and his wife Jill had finished inspecting the results from their three daughter’s tooth brushing techniques and were putting the girls to bed for the night. As they planned to settle down for the latest episode of NCIS, Jill heard a noise.
“My wife heard smoke alarms going off in a house across the street,” said Cameron. “I went outside to see if I could tell where it was coming from and that’s when I saw a big cloud of smoke rolling out of the front of the house,” he explained.
Once Cameron saw where the alarm was coming from, without regard to his own safety, he ran into his neighbor’s home and got all of the residents outside before running back to his own house to grab a fire extinguisher from under his kitchen sink.
“Once I went inside and made my assessment. I could see that it looked like a grease fire. I know that water doesn’t work in a grease fire so I went for my CO2 bottle,” said Cameron.
With Cameron’s previous training, drills and experience with firefighting techniques learned during his time serving on the damage control training team onboard a frigate and a carrier, he jumped to action while Jill assisted the neighbors who had just fled from their home.
“When you are out on a ship. You have to be adamant to learn emergency procedures and be ready for anything. When you are out there. You and your teammates have to be self-reliant,” Cameron explained.
Cameron subdued the flames and grabbed a large blower to blow smoke out of the house.
Once security and fire arrived on the scene, they thanked Cameron for his quick thinking and brave actions.
Cameron’s actions during the fire didn’t go unnoticed as multiple superiors and peers have given him pats on the back and verbal kudos. The accolades didn’t stop with the fire. Cameron discreetly was performing actions throughout the holidays that have recently come to light within his chain of command.
Throughout the holiday season, Cameron volunteered continuously to do back-to-back duties since he was already living on base.
“I wasn’t looking for any recognition for this. It was simply during Christmas Eve/Day timeframe. I live on base. I would take the watch and let others who lived further off base spend time with their families instead of staying on base alone,” he said.
Cameron lives by the mantra that he can make small differences in the workplace that can result in large impacts in the mission and the lives of the Sailors around him.
“Resiliency is a big thing and being with your family is a part of that resiliency. I was just trying to help people spend more time with their families. Personally, I have been through times when I was beat down and weathered and when I got to see my family it helped, and if I could help someone else, I would,” said Cameron, who knows the perils of family life versus duty to country.
“I deployed two or three days after my daughter was born and I got pretty low. It is important that we are here for each other. I just want to be able to help others,” said Cameron.
In a letter from Capt. Mark Klein, the chief of staff of the Region Legal Service Offices and Rear Adm. Darse Crandall Jr., the Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Navy/Commander, Naval Legal Service Command, Cameron was given the news that his dedication to teamwork was appreciated with a hearty BZ for selflessness and excellence.
“LN 1, Just a quick note of thanks and a hearty BZ from RADM Crandall for your selflessness, teamwork and willingness to do what is needed to support the mission in Gulfport. We were just reading about how you volunteered for back-to-back installation CDO shifts leading up to Christmas, giving up your time and freedom to relieve your shipmates who might otherwise have had to stand watch. Moreover, we understand you have been singled out frequently by the senior watch officer and NCBC Gulfport for contributions to the watch. Selflessness and Excellence. Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition as RLSO SE Teammate of the Week. Thanks for all you do. BRAVO ZULU!”
Cameron also has a habit of attempting to better conditions for everyone around him and always tries to leave things better than they were before he got there. Once Cameron arrived at his position in the Staff Judge Advocate office for NCBC, he took the Command Duty Officer binder and re-wrote the instructions in more clear language and ensured that procedures and instructions for anything he could think of were improved.
“I volunteered to rewrite some of the procedural stuff just because I know it made things easier for the next watchstanders to come in and take over. It is important that we all are here for each other and have each other’s backs. When people do that. It makes conditions for everyone better,” said Cameron.