Every young man aspires to be a part of something great in his lifetime and for Jose Campos Jr., the dream was to become a soldier in the United States Army.
Campos knew early on that he wanted to grow up and serve his country, but he would first have to develop that “warrior” mentality in order to be well suited for the role.
In his days as a member of the Harlingen Cardinals football team, Campos developed the necessary skills to be ready for battle.
“A huge role model for me growing up was Coach (Manny) Gomez and, of course, the men on his coaching staff,” he said. “Those men were the epitome of brotherhood and the training we went through prepared me for the future.
“One thing I always carried with me is that we can’t control the situation only how we react to the situation.”
After serving his time on the gridiron, Campos was ready to fulfill his destiny by signing on with the Army right after graduation in 2011. However, those plans took a bit of a stumble.
Due to being a minor at the time, Campos needed permission from his father to join the military and was strongly urged to take another alternative.
“I was torn inside because I had spent five years working toward that goal,” he said. “Being a part of the Cardinals program only made me want to pursue it even more, but I had to make a decision that ended up being the right choice for me.”
Rather than go directly to the military, Campos decided to set his sights on obtaining a degree in criminal justice at the University of Texas-Pan American for two years until he transferred to Texas State University in 2013.
With the desire to serve his country still looming large in his heart, the ambitious Campos joined the Army National Guard in 2014 and has served as an artillery specialist ever since.
“As a grown adult at that point, I knew I had to make a decision that would help me professionally and for my personal development,” he said. “I wanted to be in the infantry because I believe it’s the most selfless position there is in the military.”
Campos graduated from Texas State with a bachelor’s degree in 2015 and decided to take his military training to the next level by applying to become a commissioned officer.
While in OfficerCandidate School in Salina, Kansas, Campos felt he was well prepared for the training due, in part, to the Cardinals football program.
“Since I made it through that type of training for football, I was able to push through whatever they had me doing in the military,” he said. “The Cardinal motto ‘Mental Toughness, Extra Effort,’ gives perfect testimony to what we do in the military in striving to be the best.”
Campos currently resides in San Antonio where he is in pursuit of earning his master’s degree in international studies and will attempt the second half of his officer training this July in Tacoma, Washington.
“Just find what you love and do it. I don’t feel honor, I’m simply just doing what I love,” he said. “When my time is done, I want to be able to say I did what I love with every ounce of energy, fiber and passion that God gave me.”