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Citizen Airman embraces the title--literally

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Lori Fiorello
  • 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The sky's the limit for Senior Airman Adedapo "Odie" Odupitan, a medical technician with the 446th Aerospace Medicine Squadron here, who raised his right hand and became a U.S. citizen, Nov. 8.

Odupitan, along with approximately 30 other foreign service members, swore in during a naturalization ceremony here at the Co-located Club.

Odie was born in Nigeria, lived there until he was 12, and then moved with his Dad who accepted a contract working for a Dutch Airliner in Malaysia. There, he diligently completed high school and the equivalent to a four year degree here in Electronic Electrical Engineering, which granted him approval for a job in the states under a six year work Visa.

"The job wasn't exactly what I thought I was signing up for," said the new American, "I was under the impression I would be doing some sort of engineering work, but I ended up working a contract job in a warehouse, where I ended up living for months."

In an effort to get closer to his original plan, Odie decided to make adjustments.

He cold called a local car dealership. But after finding out there weren't any engineer openings, he accepted an open sales position to get his foot in the door.

Odie's unwavering work ethic moved him up the ranks quickly to become assistant sales manager then on to manage all of sales for the dealership.

But as his successes increased, so did his aspirations. He had dreams of getting into the medical field, and was afraid he'd lose focus by staying at the dealership. But before he walked away, he made the deal of his life.

"I met my wife, Heidi, at the dealership when she came in to buy a car," said the former sales manager. "I realized her sales person was making too much of a profit on her sale and I had to call her back in to drop the sales price." The lovebirds married only months later.

Heidi didn't forget about his gesture, and returned the favor when she was considering joining the Air Force Reserve and introduced Odie to her recruiter, Master Sgt. Chris Brown, in August 2012. Odie learned about the assortment of medical opportunities in the wing, and within a month, he was the one who recited the oath of enlistment.

"I told the recruiter that I have my ducks in a row ... don't beat around the bush, tell me what I need to do to get into the medical field," said a steadfast Odupitan.

Brown not only cleared a path to the medical community, but he also provided a roadmap to become a U.S. citizen. At a naturalization ceremony in November, Odie found himself raising his right hand a second time. With this achievement, he plans on going for the hat trick by pursuing a career as a commissioned officer and physician's assistant with the wing.

"The U.S. is the land of opportunity, but not everyone puts in the hard work and perseverance that comes along with it," said the American. "I am never going to cut my life short from opportunity."

Odupitan is a certified emergency medical technician and a volunteer firefighter with the Black Diamond Fire Department in Auburn, Wash. He has chased the 'American Dream' of prosperity and success since first stepping foot on U.S. soil, and has worked his way up from sleeping in a warehouse to selling cars, and demonstrates his gratitude by serving his community and his adopted nation.

"I wouldn't be where I am right now without the opportunities (in the U.S.)," said the Reservist. "I now have the opportunity to become the person I want to be (as well)."