By Seyi Gesinde
A female combatant, Amanda Azukuike, born to a Nigerian father and Zimbabwean mother, has been promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General in the United States Army during a recent event held at Fort Knox military base in Kentucky, the United States.
Azubuike, who joined the US Army in 1994, started as an aviator after passing the Army Aviation Officer Basic Course.
Currently, she serves as a Deputy Commanding Officer at the US Army Cadet Command and previously served as a Chief of Staff/Senior Military Advisor at the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Azubuike was also Chief of Public Affairs at the United States Southern Command, Fort Lauderdale Area, and the Director of Public Affairs, at Joint Force HQs-National Capital Region/Military District of Washington.
As she got decorated into her new rank, speaking on her leadership qualities, US Army Futures Command Commander, General James Rainey, said that Azubuike “makes everyone around her better.”
She had developed an aviation career which spanned 11 years, but she continue her career in the Army as a public affairs and relations officer.
For her university education, Azubuike has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communication/Media Studies from the University of Central Arkansas and later went for her Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College, and another Master of Professional Studies, Public Relations/Corporate Communications from Georgetown University.
A football fan, outside the military engagements, Azubuike also served as a Communications Consultant for the National Football League Players Association and a Public Relations staff for the NFL franchise, the Washington Redskins.
In a recent ceremony marking her promotion, an excited Azubuike speaking in a viral video on her journey to the military to how she got promoted through the ranks, as streamed on the Army ROTC YouTube channel, said, “I recognise the gravity of this moment. I recognise the responsibility, the expectations, as well as the scrutiny that comes with this promotion.
“I also recognise the power of representation and the importance of diversity. I’m privileged to have benefitted from trailblazers and I’m committed to doing my part to leave a better path for those coming behind me.
“I’m honoured to be selected to serve at this level and feel fortunate to serve in my current position. I believe I can contribute here in a meaningful way.
“I joined the US military before I was even a US citizen. But I always knew this country was great, that it was worth fighting for. And that it is truly the land of opportunity. I’m very proud of my heritage, and my ethnic roots but I’m equally as proud to be an American.”
The Commanding General of the US Army Futures Command James Rainey, who also spoke at the event, lauded Azubuike and others who were promoted, describing the position as belonging to exceptional officers.
“Amanda inspires me. Ever since I met her and started working for her, she is inspirational and I get energy from her,” he said.
“This is the greatest country in the world and you don’t have the right to be happy but you have the right to pursue it. Amanda and her family, if you don’t know them or their stories, that is what they are all about, pursuing happiness.”
AMANDA AZUBUIKE’S BACKGROUND AND CAREER
Colonel Amanda I. Azubuike received her commission from the University of Central Arkansas in December 1993 and earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications.
Colonel Azubuike graduated from flight school in 1995 as a UH-1 pilot. She began her career with the 924th Aviation Support Battalion at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, where she served as a platoon leader. She went on to serve as the Flight Operations Officer, followed by Platoon Leader for the Aviation Company, Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai, Egypt. After the Military Intelligence Captain’s Career Course and Fixed Wing Multi-Engine Qualification Course, she served with the 3rd Military Intelligence Battalion (Aerial Exploitation) in South Korea as an Operations Officer and RC-12 pilot. After her assignment in South Korea, Colonel Azubuike was assigned to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, as the Commander of Alpha Company, Victory Brigade. After attending the Public Affairs Officer Qualification Course, Colonel Azubuike was assigned to the Coalition Forces Land Component Command in Kuwait from July 2005 through June 2006, where she served as a Public Affairs Operations Officer. She was Athen assigned to the U.S. Army Central Command’s Headquarters at Fort McPherson, Georgia. After attending, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Colonel Azubuike then served as the Chief of Media Relations and Public Affairs Operations Officer with the U.S. Army Central Command’s Headquarters at Fort McPherson, Georgia. Although she was assigned to Fort McPherson, she spent much of the time in Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Colonel Azubuike attended Georgetown University earning a Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. She was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs at the Pentagon in the Community Outreach Division. Following her attendance at the U.S. Army War College, she was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, as the Public Affairs Director, and deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan, with the Division Headquarters. After her promotion to Colonel, she was assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters / Military District of Washington at Fort McNair in Washington D.C. as the Public Affairs Director, where she led the joint public affairs team that supported the 58th Presidential Inauguration. Next, Colonel Azubuike served as the Chief of Public Affairs for the U.S. Southern Command Headquarters in Doral, Florida. Later, she served as the Chief of Staff and Senior Military Assistant to the Principal Deputy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon.
Her operational deployments in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, and Enduring Freedom include: Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, and Bagram, Afghanistan. She has earned the Army Aviator Badge, Air Assault Badge, and Parachutist Badge.
Her awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Army Achievement Medal with Silver Oak Leaf Cluster.