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Face of Defense: Ghana-born Marine Realizes Dream to Serve

By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Joshua Grant
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., Aug. 1, 2013 – Like so many before him, a personnel and administration student here once dreamed of coming to America for a better life.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Pfc. Andrews Nsenkyire leads students in formation at Camp Johnson, N.C., July 26, 2013. Nsenkyire joined the Marine Corps soon after coming to the United States from his native Ghana. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Joshua Grant

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

That dream became a reality last year for Marine Corps Pfc. Andrews K. Nsenkyire.

Nsenkyire is one of only 5,832 applicants from Ghana, a West African country of more than 24 million citizens, who won the opportunity to apply for an immigration visa in 2012. Five months after graduating from high school, he received word from a teacher that he had won the immigration visa lottery.

“I was happy,” Nsenkyire said. “I wanted to come to the United States to join the military so I could bring my mother, four brothers and sister here. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t be here.”

To pay for paperwork and travel expenses, Nsenkyire sold almost all of his personal belongings, including his computer, television and motorcycle. He even rented his room to raise money. He was able to pay for the paperwork, and his visa sponsor bought him the ticket for his May 4, 2012, flight to the United States.

“The first thing I asked when I got here was, ‘How hard is it to join the Army?’” Nsenkyire said. “They told me it’s not like Ghana. In Ghana, you have to pay money for the forms to join the Army.”

When he went to the recruiting station with a friend who was trying to join the Navy, a Marine Corps recruiter stopped and talked to him, Nsenkyire said, but he told the recruiter he wanted to join the Army.

“It was the first time I had heard about the Marine Corps. We don’t have Marines in Ghana,” he said. “The recruiter tried to convince me, but I wasn’t really into it, until I asked my brother what he knew about Marines. He just said one thing; the Marines are the best fighting force in the world.”

Just two months after coming to the United States, Nsenkyire began his paperwork to join the Marines.

“I was supposed to go on April 8,” Nsenkyire said. “I was always talking to my recruiter -- I wanted to go early. One day he called me and said he got room in the schedule, and I was shipping out in January.”

Nsenkyire graduated from boot camp and Marine Combat Training early this year, and he is slated to graduate as an administration specialist here tomorrow.

“He is very focused. He’s wanted a leadership position since he arrived here and currently is a squad leader,” said Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Alondra Coiradas, one of Nsenkyires’ personnel administration instructors. “After finding out a little bit more about him, it amazes me that he just wanted to be a Marine.”

Upon graduation from personnel administration school, Nsenkyire will serve at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.


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