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380AEW Article

I Wanted to Serve: Senior Airman Agyare

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mya M. Crosby
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Question one: What were you doing the specific moment you decided to join the military? 

It was in mid-July 2014. I had traveled from Ghana, my home country, to India and I was staying in Hotel Abhimaani Vasathi in Bangalore. I had won the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery in May of that year and was getting my documents ready for a visa interview. The DV Lottery program is organized by the Department of State annually. It gives out 50,000 visas to foreign nationals who want to come and live permanently in US. I had just gotten a golden ticket to come and live permanently in the U.S. The excitement made me to start thinking about what I would do when I got there. I had spoken to friends who were already in the U.S., including Airman 1st Class Enoch Oduro Marfo, who is currently stationed at Travis Air Force Base, to find out my options as a new immigrant. Of all the recommendations I received, one that stood out was, “Join the military, it is the easiest way to survive here.” I made up my mind to join the military and I went to the Air Force website to only discover that the maximum age, as of June 2014, was 27 years old. It was going to take me about a year and half to get to the U.S. and I would have exceeded the maximum age upon arrival. The good news came one Saturday afternoon in mid-July 2014 as I was surfing the net to find opportunities available to me for when I got to the U.S., and I came across an online publication titled, “Air Force raises enlistee age limit from 27 to 39”. This was the moment I firmly decided to join the U.S. military. My hopes were still dependent on getting a U.S. immigrant visa, but the decision had been made in that moment.

Question two: What was the deciding factor that drove your decision to military service?

The two main factors that influenced my decision were supporting my family back home in Ghana and getting money for school. Working two jobs would make it difficult to get time to further my education whilst going to school, and meant earning less money, which would put my family in a deep financial crisis. I needed to balance these two issues in order to have peace of mind and focus on life. When I found out the military could offer both benefits, that is why I decided to join. Additionally, there was a hidden third factor to fulfil a childhood dream. I always wanted to join the military as a child but I couldn’t get the opportunity in Ghana. Having the opportunity in U.S. meant living my childhood dream whilst I still took care of my family and pursued my educational goal.

Question three: What did it feel like when you finished BMT and learned what your career path would be? What was your first assignment? 

The actual graduation day was a normal day for me. The Coin Ceremony was the biggest day in my life. I got my US citizenship on that day and that was very emotional for me. I had only been in the country for ten months. I couldn’t control myself, I sat in the bowling center and cried the whole day. It may seem very simple, to join the military and get your citizenship, but people outside the U.S. see it differently. Ten months prior to that I was part of the hundreds of millions of people who dreamt of coming to America one day. Not only had I achieved my dream of coming to America, I came, joined the military, and was also offered something which was priceless to me. 

I was assigned a job four months prior to getting to Basic Military Training. I knew I was going into Contracting, so I did a little research even before I got to BMT. 

My first and current assignment was to Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. Moody AFB is the place I really started to mingle with Americans and started learning the culture. It was there that I really started learning the dos and don’ts, and how to fit in. One of the biggest things I learned was building credit. There is nothing like financial credit in Ghana, so I had no idea what it meant until Master Sgt. George Hines III (now at Kadena AB) walked up to me one day in July 2016 and started asking me questions about credit. I sat there looking at him and only one thing was going on in my mind: “What is this man talking about?” He took time to explain to me what credit is and educated me on how to get started. Also at Moody, I learned how to drive a car. I was very fortunate to have Staff Sgt. George Capilos be willing to take the risk and help me. There was no pressure on me at Moody AFB, so I had the opportunity to adapt to the American way at my own pace. 

Question four: Can you summarize what Air Force life has been like for you up till you found out you were deploying to ADAB? 

This is my first deployment and I was really looking forward to it. My entire Air Force life prior to this had been learning my job – from tech school to taking Career Development Courses, to rotation from one duty section to another trying to get to know my job. I was fortunate to have good Airmen and DoD civilians around me who were willing to help me understand my job. It has been fun and I like my job. I thought my job was hectic back home but I came here and found out that was only half true, Al Dhafra is much faster paced and demanding. Moody was indeed good training to prepare me for this. 

Question five: What are you doing here at ADAB? What is your day like?

I am a Contracting Officer at the 380th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron. I am currently in the Construction flight. I spent my first two months in services flight before moving to construction. On a typical day, I get up around 6:30 a.m. and get to the office before 8 a.m. I normally pass by the Dining Facility and grab something on my way to the office. I work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a normal day but the hours can increase depending on the workload at the office. During these hours, I literally do four things; I am either working at the office, at the gate or VSA trying to get contractors on base, at a meeting with CE trying to resolve contract related issues, or having a site visit at a construction site.

5 p.m. to 7:30 pm is for supper, shower and chatting with fellow Airmen. 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. is always time for studies. 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. is time with my family. I am either talking with my fiancée or finding out how my family is doing.

Question six: What about your job makes you feel like you have intended purpose at ADAB, and how do you feel connected to the mission? 

My job is about providing Airmen what they need for their job here at ADAB. It ranges from buying tools to help tighten a bolt on a plane to executing contracts for buildings for ADAB’s continued development. The greatest excitement is when I see my customers accept the items I bought or take over a building or project after it has been completed by the contractor. 

Question seven: How are you making the best of your deployment?

My personal goal for this deployment was to stay focused and keep taking classes. I finished my last class on Nov. 17 and started another one on Nov. 26, 2018. I do work out on my own and I take part in every 5K run and weekly squadron Physical Training session to supplement my workouts. I rest a lot and also love to watch movies on my day off. The Wi-Fi is one thing I am really happy to have on this deployment. It has really kept me going. 

Question eight: If you could have one thing said about your time in service here at Al Dhafra, what would you want your fellow Airman to say about you? 

“That’s a cool guy who is passionate about his job.” 

Question nine: If you could give your younger self a piece of advice of what your life would be like after you joined the Air Force, what would you say to re-assure your younger self that everything was going to be okay?

I would say to him, “Make this opportunity count.” I would ask him what he has to lose in life and if he is happy doing menial jobs? I will remind him of the family problems he needs to solve back home and list out all the opportunities the Air Force is willing to give for only four years of his life. I will let him know the Air Force is going to better his life and the lives of his four siblings and mother back home in Ghana. I definitely know what he hears on the news about death of soldiers will scare him. I will remind him people die in regular life but my question to him would be, “What is he leaving behind for his family after his death?” I would let him know even if he risks and loses his life, the Air Force will help him to take care of his family and to help them stay out of poverty for the rest of their lives.