PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Not every Soldier’s decision to serve in the military was based on the events of 9/11. Jerome Bingham said he felt like he was at a dead end as a bill collector and wanted a new start. So, he decided to leave Lake Mary, Fla., for a sense of excitement and to see the world, he said.
“I initially joined the military, the Army, specifically, to leave home, travel and see the country,” Bingham said. “I don’t have any regrets joining the Army. I’ve definitely became a better person and a better man.”
Now a staff sergeant, Bingham is deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom with the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. He is doing everything he set out to do, he said.
Since his enlistment 10 years ago, Bingham has traveled to numerous locations across the globe.
“My first duty station was Fort Hood, Texas, and I deployed twice to Iraq there in (Operation Iraqi Freedom) II and OIF VI-VIII, as part of the surge in Iraq. We were probably one of the first brigades to do a 15-month deployment,” Bingham said. “I was also stationed at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., where I also did a 12-month tour in Iraq. I conducted numerous (National Training Center) and (Joint Readiness Training Center) rotations, to include schooling at Fort Lee, Va., and Fort Knox, Ky.”
Now on his fourth deployment, Bingham serves as the unit supply sergeant with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, 4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div., at Forward Operating Base Sharana. His primary job is to help the commander keep accountability of all the moving and stationary pieces of equipment in the brigade’s area of operations, while also training a number of supply specialists to maintain their commanders’ hand receipts.
“Property accountability is very important,” he said. “There’s a lot of responsibility and financial obligation in managing and controlling the property book.
We all work for a living, so one consequence of that would be someone being financially liable for missing or unaccounted for property. It could result in a negative evaluation report for both noncommissioned officers and officers.”
While managing the ever-changing property book, Bingham was recently selected for membership into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, which is comprised of the top 2 percent of NCOs across the Army. Sgt. Audie Murphy was the most decorated and accomplished U. S. Army Soldier to grace the airwaves, movie screens and pages of history. The SAMC also conducts community outreach projects in order to bridge the gap between the military and neighboring communities.
“That was a goal of one of mine since I became a leader. It was a huge accomplishment to be inducted in the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club,” Bingham said. “I think being a part of this club will give me more opportunities to impact young Soldiers in the Army. I would be able to give them some ground foundation on how to take care of Soldiers and volunteer your time to help the local communities.”
After completing his goal of becoming a SAMC member and successfully balancing his commander’s property book, what does the future hold for Bingham?
“I think the sky is the limit. I’m a staff sergeant, and I have 10 years in right now,” he said. “I do plan on becoming a command sergeant major, if not, my Plan B is be a warrant officer. So between the two, I think the sky is the limit, and I’m in control of my own destiny.”
By Sgt. Gene Arnold
Staff Sgt. Nicolas Morales | 4TH IBCT
Staff Sgt. Jerome Bingham, HHC, STB, 4th IBCT, right, is presented his SAMC medallion by 4th IBCT Command Sgt. Maj. Wylie Hutchison, also a SAMC member, left, in a small ceremony Nov. 8, 2012, outside of the brigade headquarters at FOB Sharana, Afghanistan.
Sgt. Gene Arnold | 4TH IBCT
Staff Sgt. Jerome Bingham, HHC, STB, 4th IBCT, looks through supply records to help maintain accountability of property at FOB Sharana, Afghanistan.