Odds and Ends: The short Mormon Marine

Published: Monday, June 4 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

He's small in physical stature, but ripped with character, excellence and spiritual stature.

Lance Cpl. Oziel Camacho of San Clemente, Calif., is only 5-foot-6 and 140 pounds, the smallest recruit in his U.S. Marine platoon, but was chosen as the best of 371 recruits in Marine Company F. The honorman selection comes with a promotion to lance corporal. All other recruits receive ranks of private or private first class.

Lance Cpl. Camacho, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was recently featured by Dianna Packard in an article for the Orange County (Calif.) Register.

Camacho received the honors at his unit's boot-camp graduation parade last month at the San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot. In the article, he said it took a lot of hard work and a lesson he learned while serving in Brazil as a Mormon missionary.

"I had a companion tell me on my mission that to be a good missionary you have to be a good missionary every day," Camacho told Packard. "So at the end of the night, with whatever frustrations you would have or whatever discouragement came over you, brush it off your shoulders, because the next morning is a new day. You just try harder.

"So, I tried to stay to that as much as I could here at boot camp. To be a good recruit, you have to be a good recruit every single day. Brush it off your shoulder at night and wake up in the morning, say a little prayer and keep on pushing. That's what I did."

Packard wrote that Camacho also prayed with his fellow recruits and led a five-minute devotional each night as volunteer prayer leader for his LDS denomination.

Camacho will continue his combat training and then report to linguistic school. He already is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and can carry on a conversation in French and Italian.

In other news involving LDS members and the military, the North County Times in Southern California described how a team of about 100 volunteers from the Carlsbad California Stake and other faiths performed several days of renovations at the Caruso Memorial Chapel at Camp Pendleton.

Similar service projects unfolded in Northern California and Hawaii, according to the Times-Standard in Eureka. An article states that approximately 70,000 members of the LDS Church recently participated in day-long “Helping Hands” projects in California and Hawaii. Among many projects, the volunteers painted, collected food, planted trees, cleaned and fixed up properties last month as part of the annual day of service, now in its third year.

More than 17,000 were people of other faiths. Combined, volunteers donated 227,280 hours on 536 projects.

In Riverside, Calif., The Press-Enterprise described thousands of Mormons engaged in various service projects in their communities.

Email: ttoone@desnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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