Story of Larry Okeyo: Kenyan Who Has Risen to Top US Military Job

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Larry Okero, 633d Air Base Wing at his school days (left) and later with colleagues at US Air Force.

The United States military at Joint Base Langley-Eustis on Monday, February 26, through its website explained how one of its soldiers, a Kenyan, rose through the ranks to become one of its finest servicemen despite his earlier life setbacks. 

US Air Force Senior Airman Larry Okero who was born in Kenya was left by his mother aged three years old as she embarked on pursuing greener pastures in the United States. 

At that young age, he spent the next 14 years moving from one home to another surviving with the bare minimum.

Narrating his struggles after being interviewed for the profile, Okero explained that although his mother routinely sent upkeep money, it was largely squandered by relatives who were given the responsibility of raising him.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Larry Okero, 633d Air Base Wing during his school-going days in Kenya

He would later get a semblance of normal life when one of his uncles decided to send him to a boarding primary school. 

The soldier now remembers his uncle fondly remarking that being enrolled on a boarding school signalled a turning point in his life.

“Boarding school was really good for me because I was away from all my family, and all of the drama,” the airman recalled in the interview. 

It was not all rosy at the start since he initially struggled to be in a structured environment but within a short period of time he found a footing and started concentrating on his education. 

A year shy of his 18th birthday, he was fortunate enough to get a chance to travel to the United States to reunite with his mother and pursue high school education. 

Again, the young boy was forced to fit in an altogether new environment with a language barrier exacerbating his challenges of fitting in. 

After graduating from high school, he enlisted to join the army but struggled to pursue a field in military cyber-security since English was not his first language. 

“During my initial tech school challenges, tackling the required test was tough,” he explained noting that the lessons were offered in English. 

He would later be introduced to religious affairs where he thrived making him earn his current title, U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Larry Okero, 633d Air Base Wing. 

Two F-22 Raptors fly over Joint Base Langley-Eustis’ Felker Army Airfield at Fort Eustis, Virginia, June 14, 2018.
Tech. Sgt. Natasha Stannard