CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq — Cpl. Onyango Nicholas is from Kampala, Uganda, and works side-by-side with Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, as a security guard for Triple Canopy, a private security company that provides trained teams of individuals to provide security throughout the world.
In Iraq, most Triple Canopy members come from Uganda like Nicholas. They provide security at checkpoints, conduct patrols, and perform individual and vehicle searches throughout the base.
Nicholas, who speaks three different languages including English, says that taking a job with Triple Canopy was about taking a chance to improve his life.
"It's an opportunity to make better money for a lot of Ugandans, and it's better than sitting at home," Nicholas chuckled. "Working hard and being prosperous is the only way we can fight poverty in our country."
He said that he has made a lot of friends and had the opportunity to meet people from around the world. He says he misses his family, but they are proud of him and what he does. He has been here in Iraq working with Triple Canopy for close to a year and a half now.
Nicholas says his experiences out here have changed his life.
"I have learned how to work with many different people," he said. "It takes a lot of patience and dedication."
While on guard at various security checkpoints, Nicholas works daily with American Soldiers. While manning their checkpoints, they talk with each other about their lives and share personal experiences. Nicholas says he has enjoyed working with the American Soldiers.
"They are dedicated and good people, and many of my friends are Soldiers," he said. "Togetherness and working as a team is what makes my day great. We are able to achieve goals because of teamwork. When you have a collective of minds, you have the energy to achieve your goals."