HomeNewsArticle Display

McConnell Airman, Cameroon native serves to give back

Airman 1st Class Bernice Yunwe Kwasinyui, a 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron aircraft parts store technician, sings the national anthem during a change of command ceremony Feb. 12, 2015, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Yunwe Kwasinyui, a Cameroon native, won a visa to come to the U.S. and joined the Air Force to give back to a country that has impacted her life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tara Fadenrecht)

Airman 1st Class Bernice Yunwe Kwasinyui, a 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron aircraft parts store technician, sings the national anthem during a change of command ceremony Feb. 12, 2015, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Yunwe Kwasinyui, a Cameroon native, won a visa to come to the U.S. and joined the Air Force to give back to a country that has impacted her life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tara Fadenrecht)

Airman 1st Class Bernice Yunwe Kwasinyui, a 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron aircraft parts store technician, looks up part information April 22, 2015, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Yunwe Kwasinyui, a Cameroon native, joined the Air Force to give back to the country that gave her an opportunity for a better life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Trevor Rhynes)

Airman 1st Class Bernice Yunwe Kwasinyui, a 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron aircraft parts store technician, looks up part information April 22, 2015, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Yunwe Kwasinyui, a Cameroon native, joined the Air Force to give back to the country that gave her an opportunity for a better life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Trevor Rhynes)

Airman 1st Class Bernice Yunwe Kwasinyui, a 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron aircraft parts store technician, operates a forklift April 22, 2015, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Yunwe Kwasinyui, left her home country of Cameroon after she won a visa to come to the U.S. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Trevor Rhynes)

Airman 1st Class Bernice Yunwe Kwasinyui, a 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron aircraft parts store technician, operates a forklift April 22, 2015, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Yunwe Kwasinyui, left her home country of Cameroon after she won a visa to come to the U.S. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Trevor Rhynes)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. (AFNS) -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on AF.mil. These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)

The Air Force defines diversity as a composite of individual characters, experiences and abilities consistent with the Air Force core values and the Air Force mission.

"Diversity is often equated to minority, but it's more than that -- diversity is a reflection of what makes us unique, and it fuels our Air Force and our nation," wrote Gen. Darren W. McDew, the Air Mobility Command commander, in a February 2015 commentary. "The Air Force has a rich heritage built on the pillars of diversity and innovation."

One such pillar is Airman 1st Class Bernice Yunwe Kwasinyui, a 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron aircraft parts store technician.

Yunwe Kwasinyui was born in Mbem, Cameroon located in Central Africa.

"My village was a small community where you know almost everybody by name, and it had very friendly people," said Yunwe Kwasinyui.

"I did not grow up in a wealthy home," she said. "Life was not all that easy, but we were and still are a very happy family, always hoping for the best."

According to the website “Our Africa,” Cameroon has an estimated population of 20 million people and schooling is mandatory for children 6 to 14 years. Once children are ready to move on to secondary school, most parents can't afford the fees and children are often pulled from school. Most of the populace works in agriculture while very few continue education.

Fortunately for Yunwe Kwasinyui, her mother ensured all of her children graduated high school. In September 2011, Yunwe Kwasinyui decided to enter a training program to become a nursery and primary educator.

In that same year, her older sister, Doris Fanyui Rowely, entered Yunwe Kwasinyui in the U.S. Visa Lottery, a program that allows people from countries with extremely low immigration rates to immigrate to America.

"My sister had signed me up for the opportunity to receive a visa to come to the United States," she said. "I didn't want to do it because I didn't have the money and a lot of people sign up for the chance to get those visas so I didn't think my chances were good."

However, Yunwe Kwasinyui's chances were better than she thought, and she won the chance to live in the U.S.

"I was very anxious and scared to leave my family to (move to) a place where I'd meet different people with a different lifestyle, actually, a different everything," she said. "I had mixed feelings leaving my family and friends, yet I was happy to come and explore all the good things America has to offer."

By July 2012, she was living in America. Yunwe Kwasinyui said she remembered being "wowed" by America when she arrived.

"I could not stop staring at everything," she recalled. "I was impressed with all the good roads and sky scrapers, which are not found in my village."

After being in the U.S. for a few months, Yunwe Kwasinyui decided to join the Air Force in 2013, she said so she could give back to the nation that gave her an opportunity to live a different life.

Although luck was on her side coming here, she ran into some challenges along the way, she said.

"My biggest challenge was when I had to go basic (military) training (BMT)," Yunwe Kwasinyui said. "I had to work so hard to get in. Coming from a different country, the process was a little bit hard, but my recruiter was so awesome. He helped me. He walked me through the process so well. I'm very glad my sister pushed me to take this chance."

While Yunwe Kwasinyui was in BMT she decided to get her American citizenship.

"Who doesn't want to be a citizen in one of the greatest nations in the world?" exclaimed the Cameroon native. "Getting my citizenship was one of the requirements I needed to fully do my job, which is very important to me because I did not want to have any limitations to complete my job and the Air Force's mission."

Since arriving to McConnell Air Force Base, Yunwe Kwasinyui has found another way to give back to the country that has done so much for her.

"One day I thought I was alone in the office, and I was the only one left, so I started singing out loud," Yunwe Kwasinyui remembered. "After that, my supervisor came in and asked if I was the one singing. I told her that I love to sing and do it anytime I have the opportunity."

Yunwe Kwasinyui said her supervisor suggested she try out to sing the national anthem during ceremonies across base.

Soon after, the pride in Yunwe Kwasinyui's voice could be heard as she belted out the lyrics to "The Star-Spangled Banner" during official ceremonies.

"She sings beautifully, and when she does, it's obvious the anthem means something to her," wrote Maj. Aaron Stark, the 22nd Air Refueling Wing chief of flight safety, in an email. "She's an incredible Airman and has had an amazing impact on the base already in such a short time here."

Yunwe Kwasinyui received her citizenship in 2013 and speaks to her family as often as she can, updating them on her life as an American citizen as she continues to serve the nation that gave her endless opportunities.

(Editors note: Senior Airman Trevor Rhynes contributed to this article)

Engage

Twitter
A C-17 Globemaster III returns to @TeamCharleston after evacuating to Ellsworth AFB. Ellsworth has a support agree… https://t.co/vtHhp1ETVC
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: #OTD in 1949, the DOD was formed, unifying the military under the secretary of defense. Our thanks to everyone who serve…
Twitter
Starting off the week with some air power! . An F-22 Raptor assigned to the 3rd Wing takes off from Joint Base Elme… https://t.co/cjvCe6fSOk
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: “We need out-of-the-box thinkers to succeed in our mission of developing the base of the future,” said Brig. Gen. Patrice Mel…
Twitter
“With accelerating disruptive technologies...rewriting Air Power for all nations, not just the U.S., continuing our… https://t.co/WDD6LsQGkr
Twitter
#Resilience: The story of the Peck family’s and their battle with breast cancer. #TotalForce @ScottAFB https://t.co/PYGgSOQwcu
Twitter
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: Maintaining resiliency in paradise - https://t.co/IXktGzGgWc (Story by the @624RSG) #ReserveResilient https://t.co/ta8mMTP…
Twitter
RT @hack_a_sat: Tune in at 11 AM PDT to watch the LIVE closing ceremony with Dr. Will Roper and @bjgol. 🚀It's all happening at https://t.c…
Twitter
Difficult, but not impossible. @GenCQBrownJr addresses the challenges the Air Force faces going forward. https://t.co/kF4FdxN5S6
Twitter
“I want to show people the power of having faith & sticking to what you say you’re going to do.” - Staff Sgt. Gerem… https://t.co/524l6BUsyI
Twitter
What operates 24/7 ensuring the safety of aircraft & aircrews, AND provides prompt service to whoever is flying?… https://t.co/JMaYsTV5XH
Twitter
.@GenCQBrownJr explains what the Air Force can expect from his leadership: https://t.co/bxeqgZ1NSi
Twitter
RT @AirmanMagazine: Your daily @usairforce news! ✅ @Team_Tinker Airmen are using 3D printing to manufacture metal components successfully…
Twitter
5-year-old Wilder Umbarger, who suffers from X-Linked Adrenoleukodystrophy, wished he could see a real plane and me… https://t.co/nUtEk9e0u4
Twitter
.@GenCQBrownJr assumed his new role as Air Force Chief of Staff Aug. 6. https://t.co/kk8y15fOYe
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: "Their exceptional service in conducting over 100,000 COVID tests set the conditions to reduce the effects of this pandem…
Twitter
Botinsol Analytics has developed a portable precision chem-bio lab for people who need to do real-time analysis in… https://t.co/XgOq8ROkSE
Twitter
#FollowFriday: The 22nd Air Force Chief of Staff @GenCQBrownJr https://t.co/UOG0JDKTVJ
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,263,379
Follow Us