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Nigerian prince to American Airman

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Samantha Krolikowski
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Since he was nine years old, Airman 1st Class Adeola Adeboyejo, 92nd Force Support Squadron outbound assignment technician, has been working toward his dream of becoming a pilot. Adeboyejo grew up in Nigeria and had a seemingly normal upbringing, despite being born into royalty.

"My dad was born a prince, but instead of living a royal life he went to college to become an engineer," Adeboyejo said. "He would tell me stories of being a prince and what it entails in Africa."

Adeboyejo went to high school when he was nine years old and graduated when he was 15. After graduating he began taking classes at The Federal University of Technology Akure in Nigeria for information technology. He later realized that degree wasn't what he wanted. Then, an opportunity arose for him to come to the U.S.

"My mom was already in the U.S., so she suggested I move there to go to school," Adeboyejo said.

Adeboyejo jumped at the opportunity and moved to Wisconsin where his family lived. At first the change in location shocked him. It was nothing like he expected, but it did not disappoint him.

"Back in Nigeria, we think everything in the U.S. is free," Adeboyejo said. "I was impressed with how everything was when I got here. Then, when I saw snow and realized how cold it was I wanted to go back."

Once Adeboyejo started taking classes, he found it similar to how it was in Nigeria. The only difference he noted was the U.S. offered more hands-on experiences.

"I'm a visual learner, so to be able to take a lab or be shown how to do something helped me out," he said.

During this time, Adeboyejo was looking into becoming a pilot and how much it would cost him. He researched and found out it would cost more than $70,000 - much more than he expected.

"Some of my cousins told me certain airlines would pay for my school if I worked for them for so many years, but when I contacted the airlines the program wasn't offered anymore," Adeboyejo said.

This experience didn't stop him from looking into other avenues to become a pilot.

"My pastor told me the Air Force was the way to go," he said. "I did some research and found it was not only a good way for me to become a pilot, but to also have my school paid for."

Six months after he joined the Air Force he became a U.S. citizen; but because he couldn't keep dual citizenship in the military, he had to give up his Nigerian passport.

"Nigeria has played a big role in developing me, but I feel it has given me all it can right now," Adeboyejo said.

According to Adeboyejo, his job as an outbound assignment technician involves out-processing members for permanent changes of station and retiree or separation actions. Members need official orders to be authorized Air Force funds to PCS to their gaining base. Once notified, he and his coworkers sort out every assignment based on each member and get the documents needed for orders.

"PCSing is fun and exciting for a lot of Airmen," Adeboyejo said. "When they come to me, I can make the move happen for them."

Being new in the U.S. and the Air Force, Adeboyejo has had a very welcoming time at Fairchild. The Spokane community accepts and cares for us, he added.

"I'm currently a part of the Airman Against Drunk Driving program, act as the dorm chief for the 92nd Comptroller Squadron and 92nd Communications Squadron," Adeboyejo said. "I also help with events in my squadron."

To further his career, Adeboyejo is putting together his application for the Air Force Academy. He has taken his American College Testing exam and has received recommendation letters from his leadership. The selection results are slated come out in March of 2016. 

"Being in the military, I am living my brother's dream," he said. "When I become a pilot, I will be living my dad's dream."

Even if he doesn't get accepted into the Academy, he will keep striving to become a pilot.

"Life isn't always fun and things don't always come easy, but the Air Force has been the best decision I have made," Adeboyejo said. "I feel I'm part of something bigger."