Soldier’s Remarkable Journey From Kenyan Refugee Camp to US Army

A file image of U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Abdimaik Hashi.
  • Abdimaik Hashi’s journey embodies the narrative that life is not a bed of roses and through strong resolve, one can break the glass ceiling and reach the proverbial brass ring.

    His life entails a notable rise from spending eight years at a Kenyan refugee camp to being deployed to the United States Army.

    His story dates back to 1992 when his mother and sister fled Kismayo in Somalia and walked for over two months to arrive in Kenya in order to evade strife.

    A file image of U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Abdimaik Hashi.

    His mother arrived at a refugee camp in Kenya, which became their humble abode for almost a decade. Hashi, born and brought up at the camp, noted that he resorted to finding ways for his family to make ends meet. 

    Fortunately, he and his family were moved to Kentucky in the United States of America (USA) through the US Refugee Resettlement Program. At the time Hashi was just 8 years old. 

    “At first being in the U.S.was difficult, especially when you don’t know the language and lack a community that can support you,†he informed international-based reporter Joshua Cohen. 

    Hashi and his family later settled in Minnesota where he studied at St. John’s University. 

    He pointed out that the only way he could afford to pay his fees was through joining the military- a decision that he had not initially planned for. 

    He joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship program; a program that offers college scholarships for students who commit to serving in the military.

    “It was an ROTC scholarship that paid for my housing and tuition, it’s a very expensive private school and there was no way I could pay for it otherwise.

    “I never thought about the military as a career, in 2016 I was attending college, financially it was very difficult, I met a National Guard recruiter, Sergeant First Class Joshua Schneider, and after learning the guard had college tuition assistance programs I decided to join,” he stated.

    Through the years, the soldier has risen through the ranks from being a cadet to being commissioned to the Vermont National Guard as a Second Lieutenant.  

    Currently, the officer is set to join the 186th Brigade Support Battalion, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat team for an overseas deployment. 

    Members of the US Army walking at an airport.
    Members of the US Army walking at an airport.