Spotlight on Diversity: Seabee exhibits strong devotion to duty

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael

CE3(SCW) Olorunshola Olukera

GULFPORT, Miss. – Construction Electrician 3rd Class Olorunshola Olukera, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, isn’t going home for the holidays this year.  He continues striving for personal and professional excellence since an October visit to see his family in Nigeria, his first such visit in over five years.

Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Olukera took three weeks of leave in October and paid his family a surprise visit.

“My dad barely recognized me when I walked in, and my mom was crying,” said the soft spoken 33-year-old.

“I had to break my promise to visit my family during our homeport in 2011.  They were able to understand that the circumstances were beyond my control,” said Olukera.  His devotion to duty took precedence in 2011 as NMCB-11 was in heavy preparation for its 2012 deployment to Afghanistan.

Olukera came to the United States in 2007 to continue his education.

“I always had this dream of continuing my education abroad,” stated Olukara who also considered moving to London.  “I weighed the options, and I chose to come to the United States.  I’ve been loving it so far.”

Olukera completed a three year electronics program at the head of his class at a Nigerian technical college then took the opportunity to continue his education in the U.S. with a move to Bowie, Md. and an enrollment at Capital College.

When a Navy recruiter told the student about the education benefits available to Sailors, Olukera decided that an enlistment in the Navy would be the right move.

“Thank god for the United States Navy because it has really shaped my life,” exclaimed Olukera.

After completing Construction Electrician A-school, Olukera took orders to NMCB-11 in Gulfport, Miss. with whom he has deployed to Guam and Afghanistan.

While deployed to Guam, Olukera took some college classes, and he has plans to take more in the spring.

Olukera believes that “whatever is worth doing is worth doing well,” and because of this philosophy he has decided to limit his enrollment in school so that he may focus on his Navy career.  With less than four years of service, Olukera has advanced to the rank of Petty Officer 3rd Class in a very competitive Seabee community.  He has also earned the Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist qualification, his primary warfare qualification.

“This is the best job I’ve ever had,” stated Olukera.  “I don’t want to be an average Sailor in the Navy.  I want to be the best that I can be, and I also want to continue being an “A” student.”

This desire for excellence and a strong faith in God guide Olukera’s decisions.

“I don’t do things because of money.   That’s not the purpose.  I only do things because I know it is right to do it and because I know I could use it to help people.”

Olukera earned his U.S. citizenship in 2009, and, though his family doesn’t fully understand everything that the U.S. Navy is all about, they know how much it means to him and support his decision.

“You know, it’s pretty tough coming (to the U.S.) by yourself; starting from zero.  But you know, life is a risk,” stated Olukera.

Olukera would like to be able to visit his family every year, but responsibilities to the Navy and personal budget constraints put limits on how often he is able to make that trip.

NMCB-11 is currently in the midst of a homeport cycle following an eight month deployment to Afghanistan and is preparing for its next deployment, set to begin near the end of the summer next year.

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