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Faces of Fort Cavazos: Spc. Malachi Uche brings his Nigerian roots with him to Killeen

Posted: 3:50 PM, May 22, 2024
Updated: 2024-06-13 15:19:25-04

FORT CAVAZOS, Texas (KXXV) — Army Specialist Malachi Uche is a proud soldier with the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Cavazos.

Though he is an American citizen now, his story began all the way in Lagos Nigeria.

”I feel grateful for having grown back home in Nigeria,” Spc. Uche said.

“Those years of experience, those years of living in Lagos Nigeria have shaped my life for what it is today.”

At 26, he found himself looking for greener pastures and moved to the United States.

It wasn’t long before he decided he want more than a job, he wanted to join the Army.

”I have three boys, and at some point, I realized I wasn’t there enough for them, and my mom said if you do this, you something more sustainable,” Spc. Uche said.

“You have something more stable, you have like a career.”

He is now a proud American citizen who cherishes his Nigerian roots — roots he said includes all of Africa and he wants to share them with our community through an Africa Day celebration.

”I could do a Nigerian and you could say you don’t want to come,” Spc. Uche said.

“You could do Ghanaian, and I could say, 'I don’t want to come' — at some point, we need to understand the power in strength, and we can only harness that if we appreciate ourselves as one.”

Those who work with Spc. Uche said he’s always going above and beyond.

They weren’t surprised to hear he found a way to bring Africa to Killeen.

”Not at all,” said Sergeant Marla Ongesel, who works with Spc. Uche.

“I was not tracking that he was doing all that at the same time he was going to work and going on missions, so I’m really proud of him.”

10 years in the United States has opened Spc. Uche’s eyes to a more diverse world and hopes to spread that feeling to others.

”We as individuals need to appreciate ourselves enough to see the worth that is inside each and every one of us,” Spc. Uche said.

“No matter where you are, whether you’re African, Asian, or American. Wherever you’re from, there’s something special and different about you.”

At 12 p.m. on Friday, Mayor Debbie Nash-King will issue an official proclamation recognizing May 25 as Africa Day in Killeen.

The official celebration with be held at Long Branch Park on June 1st from 3 to 8 p.m.

Festivites will include live cultural performances and music as well as traditional African food and fun activities for the whole family.