On Friday, April 2, 2021, Navy Commander Kelechi Ndukwe, will make history as the First Nigerian and Nigerian-American to take command of a U.S. Navy Guided Missile Destroyer, USS HALSEY (DDG-97). This great milestone will sharpen the expectations of younger and future generations of Nigerian descent and other African countries in diaspora. It will also open Nigerians within and out of the country to several opportunities and successes that could be achieved in the Navy, ranging from Naval Aviator, Submarine Warfare, Integrated Weapons Systems, Scientists, Medicine, Pharmacist, Nursing, engineering, Nuclear Propulsion and more.
Commander Kelechi is a U.S. Navy Officer serving on the Joint Staff in the Force Structure,Resource,and Assessment Directorate.As a Surface Warfare Officer, Commander Kelechi has served on multiple warships which include destroyers, cruisers and mine countermeasures, with extensive deployments to the Mediterranean Sea, Horn of Africa, Arabian Gulf, Western Pacific Ocean, and South America.At sea,Commander Kelechi qualified as Surface Warfare Officer aboard USS THORN (DD-988), where he served as Auxiliaries Mechanical Engineering Officer; USS NORMANDY (CG-60) as Fire Missile Control Officer;Forward Deployed to Yokosuka, Japan aboard USS FITZGERALD (DDG-62) as Weapons Launching and Combat Systems Officer;Executive and Commanding Officer of USS DEVASTATOR (MCM-6), a minesweeper based in Bahrain; and most recently as the Executive Officer,USS HALSEY (DGG-97) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
There are many opportunities in the Navy for our children in diaspora ranging from Naval Aviator, Submarine Warfare, Surface Warfare, Integrated Weapons Systems, Scientists, Medicine, Pharmacist, Nursing, Engineering, Maintenance Technologists, Nuclear Propulsion Engineering (with over $50,000 annual bonus) to name a few. We need more of our children in diaspora to engage in these career choices. They are rewarding and at the same time meet the challenges of our forward deployed forces.
Commander Ndukwe graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering through Navy ROTC scholarship and earned a Master’s degree in National Security and Strategy from the U.S. Naval War College. His command selection will contribute immensely to our forward deployed forces. Ndukwe has been recognized with various personal, unit-level, and campaign awards including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
Author: Bunmi Johnson
New York, USA