MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C --
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. – In the
United States, winning the lottery means winning a pile of cash. In Ghana, West
Africa, the lottery means a new life, a U.S. visa, and for one Marine, a chance
Lance Cpl. Andrews K. Nsenkyire, an administrative
specialist with Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s Installation Personnel
Administration Center, was living in Ghana when he found out he had won a
national visa lottery.
Nsenkyire was one of the 5,832 applicants from
Ghana, a country of more than 24 million citizens, who won the opportunity to
apply for an immigration visa in 2012.
“One day, when I was in high school, a teacher came
into class and passed out some forms telling us to fill them out,” Nsenkyire
explained. “I did not know what the forms were for, and to be honest, I had
completely forgotten about it."
Nsenkyire went on with his life, with no explanation
about the paperwork and no clue his life was about to change forever. Months
later, Nsenkyire's teacher, the same who encouraged him to complete the visa
forms, gave Nsenkyire the news. He had won the national lottery.
“I was happy for the chance to apply for a visa,” he
said. “I had to go to the U.S. Embassy three times for interviews, to take
picture and fill out forms.”
Money was tight so Nsenkyire sold most of his
personal belongings, including his computer, television and motorcycle, to fund
the visa process and travel expenses. With a little help from his visa sponsor,
he was on a flight to the U.S. in May 2012.
“I didn’t come from a rich family,” he said. “But I always
wanted to join the military to protect people who can’t defend themselves.”
Nsenkyire attempted to join the Army in Ghana but
was not accepted. Driven by his desire to serve and aided by his new life in
the U.S., Nsenkyire found the closest recruiting office in Alexandria, Va.
Nsenkyire walked into an Armed Forces Recruiting
office for the first time in June of 2012 where he began exploring his
opportunities as a Marine, almost by chance, he said.
“Once I walked in the office, the first person I saw
was a Marine,” he said. “I told him I wanted to join the Army and his response
was, 'No, you don't!' Then he explained to me how good I would be as a Marine."
That was the first time Nsenkyire had ever heard of
the Marines because they do not have a Marine Corps in Ghana. He made his
decision after he asked his brother about the Marines and he learned they are
considered the best fighting force in the world.
Two months after arriving in the U.S., Nsenkyire
began the enlistment process, which took about five-months. He joined the
Delayed Entry Program with Recruiting Station Frederick, Md. Nsenkyire could
not wait to depart for boot camp after joining.
“I was supposed to leave on April 8, 2013,” said
Nsenkyire. “I was always talking to my recruiter, Sgt. William Howard – I
wanted to go early. One day he called me and said he had room in his schedule
and I that I would be shipping out in January.”
After graduating from recruit training at Marine
Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., Nsenkyire completed Marine Combat
Training at Camp Geiger, N.C. and Military Occupational Specialty school at
Camp Johnson, N.C.
Nsenkyire arrived at Cherry Point in the summer of 2013
and quickly gained a reputation for professionalism and reliability. As a
personnel clerk at IPAC's quality control department, Nsenkyire earned a
meritorious promotion to Lance Cpl. in November 2013. He recently earned the
recognition of Air Station Marine of the Quarter, and plans to continue his
track record of success, on and off duty.
“I help solve people's problems,” Nsenkyire said. “I
make sure I do my job perfectly because I’m one of the only people on base who
can help with pay issues, so I need to pay attention to every detail.”
Nsenkyire will soon compete
for Marine Corps Installations East's Marine of the Quarter and hopes to join
the noncommissioned officer ranks in the next year.