Kenyan Born Soldiers Thriving in US Military

  • Augustine Neto, Tessie Odhiambo and Abraham Kiplagat Serving in US Army
    Augustine Neto, Tessie Odhiambo, and Abraham Kiplagat Serving in US Army
  • Kenyan prides itself in producing some of the elite soldiers who have been tasked with protecting the world superpower, the United States of America, with President Joe Biden being the Commander-in-Chief.

    Their elite skills and ability to acclimatise in a land far away from home have earned them respectable titles in the different military units. takes a look at a few individuals who have made it is serving one of the world's most advanced and trained forces.

    Michael Matthews

    Michael Matthews , Kenyan Born Soldier Heading Elite Unit in US Air Force
    Michael Matthews, Kenyan Born Soldier Heading Elite Unit in US Air Force

    Michael Matthews is one of the young bloods who have pledged their loyalty to America. He serves in the air force unit charged with manning US air territories.

    Referred to as Airman 1st Class, Matthews serves in the 75th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron. His duties at the moment include bringing supplies, people, and other resources to Djibouti, where he has been deployed serving in collaboration with the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

    Matthews was forced to flee Kenya at the tender age of five with his nine siblings due to family issues and domestic squabbles. But that was a blessing in disguise for him.

    Abraham Kiplagat

    Abraham Kiplagat Serving in the US Army
    Abraham Kiplagat Serving in the US Army

    Abraham Kiplagat is also one of the few countrymen thriving in the US military. He is an infantryman with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, that is deployed with Task Force Bayonet to the Horn of Africa.

    He was born in a family of soldiers with his father having served in the National Police Service here in Kenya up to the old rank of the Eldoret Municipal Council head. His grandfather was also a law enforcement officer and his aunt served in the Kenya Defence Forces.

    His decision to serve in the US military came as no surprise to the Kiplagat’s, and they remain supportive of his dream.

    Currently, Kiplagat is taking part in the French Desert Commando Course where soldiers are put to the test through intense physical and mental training while learning survival skills.

    “Working with the French Forces of Djibouti was an amazing experience,” Kiplagat said in a past interview.

    Belindah Mumelo

    Belindah Mumelo was born in Western Kenya. She later moved to Nairobi before she found herself in the US. She started by sharing a room with her siblings and their parents. 

    But the breakthrough came when her entire family obtained legal permanent residency through the Green Card lottery scheme. This enabled her to join the US military.

    During the 2007 General Election, Belindah was still living in Kenya and even witnessed the election chaos. What inspired her to join the US army is the kind gesture she saw from the soldiers who were involved in restoring peace in the country.

    Three Mumelo siblings have signed up to join the US army this year. Belinda's twin brother, Benson, is currently in basic training in Missouri, just one step to joining the US forces. 

    Her sister, Barbrah, is also serving in the US military hoping to get active duties in the coming years. 

    Augustine Neto

    Austine Neto Serving in the US Army
    Austine Neto Serving in the US Army

    Augustine Neto arrived in the US without so much connection to settle in a foreign land, that was in January 2011.

    Before joining the US forces, he served as guest supervisor at a hotel. After struggling to survive miles away from home, he decided to enlist in the Minnesota National Guard and with Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment the same year.

    In 2020, Neto got his first active duty when he was deployed as an infantryman with the Minnesota National Guard and Task Force Bayonet to the Horn of Africa.

    He was tasked with providing base security, port security, and a Quick Reaction Force throughout the region in a joint working environment with the other US and foreign service branches. 

    Neto comes from a family with military background with his father having served in the KDF for 32 years. 

    “For years, Augustine would ask dad to get him study materials about World War II and the Vietnam War, and he devoured war novels and plane encyclopedias,” his brother stated in a past interview.

    Haron Lagat

    Haron Lagat is among the few Kenyan-born athletes who are also serving in the US army. He got inducted into the US athletics team together with Elkanah Kibet, SSG Augustus Maiyo, SGT Leonard Korir, and SGT Samuel Kosgei.

    In 2020, they were all set to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics but failed to make the cut.

    Others who serve in the US army include SGT Tessie Odhiambo who was initially deployed to Afghanistan with her mission being to rescue women and kids.

    SGT David Otieno is also serving that highly trained US army. He is currently stationed in South Korea in a US camp. These are among the many Kenyans who are winning big in the US.

    Tessie Odhiambo Who Serves in the US Military
    Tessie Odhiambo Who Serves in the US Military