DVIDS – News – U.S. Army Sgt. Caroline Wanjiru talks about her experience in the army
SKWIERZYNA, Poland — Black History Month has different meanings for different people. For U.S. Army Sgt. Caroline Wanjiru is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans throughout United States history.
Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Wanjiru moved to the United States with her parents when she was ten years old. “I have a very different experience, growing up in a different country with a rich culture,” she said. “I’m very proud of who I am in my heritage.”
Wanjiru joined the military at the age of 33 to help pay off debts incurred from completing a master’s degree in psychology and to become an American citizen. “I met with a recruiter, and they told me about opportunities in the military and how they could pay my debt and help me get US citizenship,” she said. “But seven years later it has become much more than just paying the debt.
“The military hasn’t slowed down for me; they said you want to enlist, so you’re going to have to keep going,” she said. “I learned to go at the same pace as everyone else, and that was the hardest thing for me, keeping up with you.”
Wanjiru started out as 92F, an oil supply specialist in an aviation unit. “It was very difficult, and it was a lot at the same time,” she said. “But that was my baseline. I think it made me the person I am today. It taught me everything I needed to know about fuel and responsibility.”
“As an E-4 (Specialist) and below, you’re primarily responsible for the fuel. You’re out in the field, fueling the birds, and doing the paperwork to hand over to the sergeant. Now I’m the sergeant, and they hand it over, and I’m responsible for it.” Now assigned to the 101 Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, she manages a whole section of oil supply specialists.
When she joined the army, her outlook changed. “I wasn’t looking for superficial things anymore,” she says. “I’ve read things like Collin Powell’s book and Barack Obama’s. Two books about leaders who are above the norm. I’ve read and seen how they approach their careers and the military, in especially Powell. I would look to him.”
During training with all the soldiers, they walked around and asked where they were from. “I was in shock; the diversity of the military is unreal,” she said. “For me, that’s an advantage; that’s a strength to deal with with so many people from different backgrounds. There’s nowhere we can’t go without adapting, so in terms of military, that’s a huge plus.” “Personally, I’m learning a lot, and I like how we see beyond our cultures. We’re able to see it, but then we see beyond it, and then we’re one, and we’re able to fight I haven’t had any negative experiences with diversity and race, it’s been a very, very positive experience.
|Date posted:||28.02.2022 05:54|
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