Coming to America: Nigerian native to commission in U.S. Army

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Krystal M. Garrett
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
A Hurlburt Airman is going the distance.

From Nigeria to America... from graduate school to the U.S. Air Force... from an enlisted Airman to an Army officer... there is no stopping him.

Senior Airman Emmanuel Ogbe, 1st Special Operations Logistic Readiness Squadron individual protection equipment journeyman, said he always wanted to serve in the military.

After serving two years in the Air Force, Ogbe said he met with an Army recruiter to discuss commissioning opportunities.

Shortly afterward, Ogbe applied for the Army Officer Candidate School in November 2013, and he was accepted one month later.

The process had multiple obstacles, but Ogbe overcame them.

For example, the closet Military Entrance Process Station to Hurlburt Field is more than three hours away, and Ogbe had to make several visits.

"I had to travel back and forth to the MEPS in Montgomery, Ala., and it was difficult dealing with all the logistics," he said. "By the fifth visit, I finally had everything taken care of."

Ogbe also had to adapt to the Army physical training test standards.

"I had to change the way I did sit-ups and adjust my running to complete a 2-mile run in a decent time," he said. "In order to be competitive for OCS, I needed at least a 270 PT score."

While at MEPS, Ogbe said he met with a board of Army colonels for an in-person interview.

"They asked why I wanted to switch branches and why I thought I would make a good officer," he said.

Ogbe said he told the colonels that he felt as though he better identified with the Army's mission.

"Every branch has a role to play in defending the country," he said.

Ogbe said he loves to push himself and pursue greater things.

"I've always wanted to commission," he said. "I couldn't come in as an officer to the Air Force because I wasn't a citizen yet. But, I earned my citizenship during my [Basic Military Training] graduation ceremony, so now I'm eligible."

Those who work closely with Ogbe said he is an outstanding leader.

"Everything asked of him gets done with no supervision required," said Master Sgt. Jose Munoz, 1st SOLRS individual protection equipment section chief.

Munoz said he believes Ogbe will be an asset to the Army and the entire Department of Defense.

"He will make a good officer, especially with his background," he said. "Now-a-days it's pretty common for the military to operate in joint environments, so Ogbe's Air Force experience will definitely help him in the Army. He will bring them a unique perspective."

Ogbe said he's scheduled to ship out to Army BMT at Fort Still, Okla., in July. After he graduates, he will go to OCS at Fort Benning, Ga.

If everything goes as planned, Ogbe said he could commission as soon as January 2015.