News: Airman lives his American dream
By Airman 1st Class Madelyn Ottem
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Capt. George Okorodudu, 60th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels flight commander, is in the process of accomplishing his own definition of "the American dream."
The youngest of nine children hails from Nigeria, he managed to make the journey to the United States through a stroke of luck.
"Coming to America seemed like an unreachable dream," Okorodudu said. "Through the National Diversity Visa program I was selected in 2000. I was one of 300 people selected in Nigeria to go through a screening process before we were sent to the United States with green cards."
Prior to coming to America, Okorodudu came from a poverty-stricken community where hunger was prevalent. Because of his background he has been able to form an unfailingly positive perspective of the opportunities America and the Air Force have provided him.
"The Air Force gave me everything," Okorodudu said. "My military training has made me a better citizen. I believe the Air Force has enabled me to positively affect several lives and I am very grateful."
In Okorodudu's home town of Lagos, Nigeria, the education system was severely undeveloped.
"After 12 years of school I did not have the ability to form words with the alphabet," Okorodudu said. "My sisters had a huge Oxford dictionary. I would wake up with it and fall asleep with it until I had learned how to form words."
Okorodudu's tenacity and positive attitude has been a major factor in his educational success and he reflects those same qualities in his military career.
His distinguished Air Force career includes Airman of the Year, senior airman below the zone, the leadership award and the John Levitow award among many other accomplishments. He commissioned Jan. 18, 2008.
The captain who didn't learn to read for the first 17 years of his life also acquired his master's degree with a 3.9 grade point average in 2010.
Okorodudu explained that he joined the Air Force over other services because he has always been a strategic thinker.
Okorodudu's priorities are taking care of his coworkers, making sure they excel, accomplishing his goals and making his boss look good, he said.
His most recent accomplishment occurred in January, when he pinned on the rank of captain.
Though Okorodudu has a broad range of awards and accomplishments, he can recall his proudest moment without hesitation.
"The greatest thing that happened to me occurred, Aug. 21, 2003," he said. "That's when I received my citizenship. It was a remarkable moment."
The crime, poverty and illiteracy that threatened to hold Okorodudu back while he lived in Nigeria was no match for his sheer will and determination.
"I was 23 years old when I came to America," Okorodudu said. "To me, my life has improved so greatly all because of the United States Air Force and it has provided so many opportunities. It's just a question of applying oneself and you can have it all."