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Winnie Adipo: Becoming a US Soldier after Four Rejections by KDF

Growing up, Winnie Adipo always wanted to serve in the military, and enjoyed attending fairs to watch the military perform different drills.

After attaining the required age, she tried to join the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) but she was rejected four times, making it seem like she won’t live to achieve her dream.

However, in 2015, Winnie moved to the United States after winning the Green-card after which she applied to join the military and she was accepted.

Here is her story as told by WoK.

In an interview, Winnie said that her long-held desire of joining the KDF was frequently denied due to pervasive nepotism inside the organisation.

She explained that despite her continuous efforts, she was denied a chance to join the force four times.

Winnie said that unemployment was high across the country and military recruiters either gave posts to their kin or persons ready to pay a bribe.

For instance, on her fourth effort, Adipo said she was requested to part with a bribe that she could not raise.

She couldn’t raise the money because of her modest upbringing as her father was a high school agricultural teacher, and her mother worked as a nurse.

“The recruiter told me, ‘Give me 200,000 shillings and I’ll fix you in.’ I just didn’t have that sort of pocket money and just like that, my dream was gone,” she said.

However, in 2015, the soldier flew to Tacoma, Washington, in after receiving an email confirming her acceptance into the US Diversity Visa Programme.

After months of battling to gather all of her paperwork, Winnie happened to strike up a discussion with a driver who was picking her up for a normal social security application.

The driver gave Winnie a contact information for a military recruiter.

Winnie Adipo
Winnie Adipo PHOTO/Kenyans

But before she could be commissioned as an officer, Adipo had to become a citizen of the United States, which she could only do by first enlisting.

She was qualified for any job she wanted, having received a high score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a multiple-choice exam intended to predict occupational success in the military.

Winnie finally had the chance to train and work in the medical area when she enlisted in the Air Force as a health services management expert.

After completing technical school and basic training, she excelled fast in the active Air Force.

Winnie was granted below-the-zone status in 2018, which is a consideration for an early promotion given to young enlisted Airmen who perform very well and operate at a rank above their present class.

After just three years, she was promoted to staff sergeant and assigned to the 56th Medical Group at Luke AFB, where she currently serves as the noncommissioned officer in charge of personnel administration.

Winnie joined the US army as a health service management specialist and rose through the ranks to the position of staff sergeant.