Joining the Military: Profiles

Capt. George Okorodudu, 60th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels flight commander, stands in front a fuel tanker at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Madelyn Ottem)
Capt. George Okorodudu, 60th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels flight commander, stands in front a fuel tanker at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Madelyn Ottem)

Below are some brief success stories of various people throughout the military. They joined the military and made something of themselves. Will you?

Sgt. Leroy DurrahSGT Leroy Durrah

74 Bravo

My name is Sergeant Durrah and my duty is 74 Bravo which is Computer Information Analyst.

What intrigued me about this MOS was actually working with computers, learning how to network them, if you will. The software and hardware that the Army uses is not different from anything that any big business or corporation uses right now.

So if you're looking at networking as a career, and not thinking that it ties over to the outside, you're sadly mistaken--it works hand in hand. The training that I've received in the Army set me up for bigger and better things on the outside.

I'm looking at becoming a network administrator, and that's something that businesses use all the time outside. Given my experience in the Army, I should fit right in.

I was able to achieve the goals that I set for myself. At the end of my enlistment in the National Guard, I decided to go ahead and go on active duty.

Courtney DavidsonU.S. Naval Academy Midshipman Courtney Davidson

College Hoops Star, Future Marine From Marine Corps Recruiting Command

QUANTICO, Va., April 23, 2004 - Courtney Davidson, team captain for the 2003-2004 Navy women's basketball team, put one last touch on a stellar collegiate basketball career, appearing in the 16th Annual Mountain Dew College Basketball Slam Dunk and Three-Point Championships in San Antonio, Texas, on April 2. Davidson is excited about her future in the Marine Corps.

"Through four years of training, I have learned a lot about leadership, self-discipline, and time management," said Davidson. "I have had the opportunity to interact with and learn from Marine officers on the Yard. Also, the Naval Academy's summer training program gave me the opportunity to participate in an introduction to TBS for four weeks in Quantico and allowed me to spend another four weeks with active Marine units at Camp Lejeune, NC."

Davidson leaves the Naval Academy holding the Navy and Patriot League record for most three-point field goals made in a career, with 245. She also holds Navy records for the most points scored in both a season (530) and in a career (1,857). Davidson is a two-time Academic All-American selection and became the first Navy women's basketball player to be named to the First-Team All-Patriot League three times (2002, 2003, 2004).

"I chose to become a Marine for numerous reasons. The pride of belonging, esprit de Corps, discipline, and Semper Fi attitude all strongly appealed to me," said Davidson. "The Marine Corps demands great respect both domestically and internationally, and I wanted to be part of it. Additionally, I will be given both the privilege and responsibility of leading some of the finest men and women our country has to offer."

David ChuUndersecretary David Chu

By Rudi Williams American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON - There were only a few Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders serving in the armed forces when Chinese American David S.C. Chu, 58, joined the U.S. Army Reserve in the 1960s. Commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army through the Yale ROTC program, Chu served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970 with the Office of the Comptroller, 1st Logistical Command headquarters. He was promoted to captain before ending his short military career, returning to Yale and earning his doctorate in economics in 1972.

Sworn in as Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness on June 1, 2001, Chu is the defense secretary's senior policy adviser on recruitment, career development, and pay and benefits for 1.4 million military personnel, 1.3 million National Guard and Reserve personnel and 680,000 Defense Department civilian employees.

"I'm delighted by the fact that it is no longer unusual to have Asians and Islanders in the ranks of the military," said Chu, the Defense Department's highest-ranking civilian Asian American.

"One of the great things about the American military is the degree to which people are accepted for themselves and not seen as different," he said. "They're seen as Americans and expected to contribute on a merit basis to do what we do. That's the standard everyone should hope is set for him or her."

Marc and Brad SummersAir Force 1st Lts. Marc and Brad Summers

Twin Co-pilots Support Operation Enduring Freedom By 1st Lt. Christine D. Millette 40th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM (AFPN) - Born in Cincinnati, it would have been hard to guess that 26 years later the Summers twins would both be flying jets supporting America's war on terrorism from a forward-deployed location.

First Lt. Marc Summers, a 28th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron co-pilot who is forward deployed, and 1st Lt. Brad Summers, a co-pilot from the 32nd Air Refueling Squadron at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., are identical twins.

The twins graduated together from the same squadron at the Air Force Academy and both went through undergraduate pilot training at Vance AFB, Okla., where Brad was one class behind Marc. The brothers' father was also active-duty Air Force.

Air Force 1st Lts. Marc and Brad Summers, identical twins, recently flew missions together supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Marc is assigned to the 28th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron at a forward-deployed location, and Brad is assigned to the 32nd Air Refueling Wing at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J. Courtesy photo

"Usually we're stuck in completely different desert locations, supporting separate missions," said Marc. "It was very cool that we happen to be here at the same time."

While they live on opposite coasts and are constantly working contingency missions, the Summers brothers try to keep in touch on a regular basis.

"We talk about once a week, or once a month, depending on our deployments and missions," Brad said.

A1C George OkoroduduAirman 1st Class George Okorodudu

By Tech. Sgt. Jason Tudor 457th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs

ROYAL AIR FORCE FAIRFORD, England - Airman 1st Class George Okorodudu admits with a wide smile he has nothing.

For the better part of two years, the Nigerian-born Okorodudu, a deployed supply troop here, has been building his American Dream with a foundation that's included an Air Force enlistment. Even as he waits for his U.S. citizenship to be finalized, Okorodudu is excited about what lies ahead.

"The American Dream is to start with nothing and to work your way up in the world," he said. "I'm excited to try this."

Staff Sgt. Ryan Brugman has worked with the airman for a little more than a year. Brugman, also deployed here, said if anyone deserves a below-the-zone promotion and to fulfill the American Dream, it's Okorodudu.

"George is very sharp and professional," Brugman said. "He has a great attitude and his initiative is unbeatable."

"It's awesome," Okorodudu said about Air Force enlistment. "I had to leave everything behind when I left Nigeria, but the Air Force met my needs and it was a good opportunity. I'm independent."

"It doesn't matter where you come from. It matters what you bring to the table," he said. "The cost is worth it. Freedom is worth it."

CGC Spencer bandA jam for Spencer

Story & photo by PA2 Megan Casey, 1st District

It could be a typical scene anywhere: a small crowd gathered around, some tapping their feet, others just listening. The dark, shadowy room resonates with the sound of a popular tune. Several men, the focus of the crowd, pick their guitars or beat the drums, sweat pouring down bodies, their faces intent as they try to drown out the outside noise with the music they are playing.

The difference for this band is that the noise competing with their music is the sound of a Coast Guard cutter underway in the south Caribbean, and the room where they are playing is actually the helicopter hangar.

The CGC Spencer is the home of a four-person band that plays almost every other week when the cutter is underway.

The band usually jams in the helicopter hangar or on the fantail of the 270-foot cutter while underway. When the weather is bad, or the cutter is in port, aft steering becomes the rehearsal space. The members schedule their performances around operations and watch schedules, usually playing on Saturday for Morale Night or on Sunday during holiday routine. However, they have taken their act out on the road.

While on a port call in Bon Aire in August of 1999, the band played at a local nightspot.

"The crowd really dug it. A lot of the guys from the boat were there. It was cool," said McGuigan.

"It was neat to see us. Everyone was dancing and having a good time," said Gagnon.

"We're all very much different in personality and character, but we find common ground in music and blowing off some steam," said Loverti.

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