Kickapoo alumnus joins the Navy; continues family military tradition

KOLR10 Daybreak

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – On Veterans Day, we often talk about retired soldiers or those who sacrificed their lives for our country. But, OzarksFirst is taking a moment to highlight one Kickapoo graduate whose service is just getting started.

OzarksFirst spoke with Cameron Burky a couple of days before becoming an officer in the United States Navy. He trained for four months, and is continuing a family tradition.

Here’s how it all began.

In 2020, Cameron received his college diploma at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Even though his degree was in ceramic engineering, his father, David, says Cameron became more interested in nuclear engineering a couple of semesters before graduating.

“As we looked into it further, instead of going back to school, what else could he do?” David said. “We said, ‘Well, the Navy is the largest producer of nuclear energy in the world.”

It was a recommendation that Cameron could relate to. He has a grandfather who served in the Navy for 26 years, another grandfather who was in the Air Force, and his mother who served in the Army.

“All of them were pretty big inspirations to me and my family,” Cameron said. “My family has always been hyping the military up to me for a while. They were like, ‘Oh, it’s a good character-building experience. So I just kind of took a leap of faith.”

Cameron went to officer candidate school in Newport, Rhode Island. He took a 13-week program, which included academics and physical training.

“It’s been pretty stressful here at some points,” Cameron said when he was still training. “There’s a system here where if you fail something, you get rolled back into the class that’s under you.”

This happened to Cameron three times. But he bounced back.

“I’m really excited to start doing my job as an officer,” Cameron said. “We’re ready to become officers in the Navy. Just put us to work, let us get started and then we’ll see how we do in the fleet.”

Cameron graduated with his class at the end of September. His parents say they couldn’t be more proud.

“I’m bursting with pride,” David said. “I don’t know any other way to describe it. Not a lot of people get to do what he has accomplished and is going to be doing. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.”

Cameron’s mother, Laurie, agreed.

“I know it was a big challenge for [Cameron],” Laurie said. “It was something out of his comfort zone. Cameron is a very laid back guy. For him to go through this program, have somebody scream at him and for him to overcome that, I’m very proud of him. He has come a long way. He has grown up a lot.”

The Navy didn’t waste any time with Cameron after he graduated. He went on a mission in Japan as a surface warfare officer.

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