The following narrative is my personal experience as an immigrant, and it does not portrait the ideas of the United States Army. This is my story as an immigrant and how joining the United States Army has been a positive impact in my life.
I arrived in Miami, Florida, in 2000. I have barely graduated high school and my mother told me that I was coming for six months to practice English and to learn what it means to earn my own salary. Little did I know that my mother had a plan for us to migrate to the United States due to the instable economic situation that Peru was experiencing after ending with the terrorism and the unstable government back home.
After six months my family joined me here as we decided to make America our home. A few months later 9/11 happened and it was at that time that I thought about joining the Army and serve the country that opened their arms to my family.
Also, at this time, my father decided that he didn’t want to stay with us and he went back to Peru leaving my mother, brother, sister and myself alone in USA, which was ok since it was our choice to remain in USA.
After a few years of hard work, my sister was the first to join the military. She joined the Marines since she was looking for a branch that was challenging for her. I waited till I became a US. Citizen and I was able to earn a ROTC Scholarship and complete my bachelor’s in social work at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
I received my commission in the Army Reserves as a Medical Service Corps Officer (MSC) and my first unit was the 18th MEDCOM at Fort Shafter Flats. With this unit I participated in the Ulchie Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercise in Daegu, Korea. Later on, I was moved to Fort Benning, GA, Fort Polk, LA and back to Fort Benning. During this time, I volunteered to deploy to Kuwait as an Executive Officer of a Veterinary Detachment during my time overseas I brought my Peruvian shirts and flag. In addition to that, I met other Peruvians and we had the Peruvian group, we hang out and became a family away from home.
Upon my return from Kuwait I took command of the Veterinary Detachment, which is an uncommon opportunity for a MSC officer. I also started my Masters in Social Work thanks, once again, to the military by utilizing my post 9/11 GI Bill and my job as a GS Civilian with the Fort Benning Dental Clinic as a Practice Manager. During this time, I attended pre-Command Course and AMEDD Captains Career Course. In September I was selected for the Active Guard Reserve (AGR) Program which makes me a full-time soldier and received orders to report to Fort Gordon, GA.
I have been married for five years to Nathan Esafe who is also a Service Member and is getting ready to retire.
Overall my experience as an immigrant has been a dream come true. The support and assistance the United States Army provided me by funding my education is invaluable and taught me to be a leader.
I am happy to represent the strong Peruvian woman in the United States Army and to serve the country and people of this, my home, without forgetting my roots and be proud to always say that I was born and raised in Lima, Peru.