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Jamaica to America: Airman starts new

Airman Alfred Grannell, 460th Space Wing Comptroller Squadron budget analyst on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., poses for a photo with his aunt, Winifred Brown of Waterbury, Connecticut, after graduating Basic Military Training April 29, 2016, on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. BMT is an eight-and-a-half-week program of physical and mental training required in order for an individual to become an Airman in the United States Air Force.

Airman Alfred Grannell, 460th Space Wing Comptroller Squadron budget analyst on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., poses for a photo with his aunt, Winifred Brown of Waterbury, Connecticut, after graduating Basic Military Training April 29, 2016, on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. BMT is an eight-and-a-half-week program of physical and mental training required in order for an individual to become an Airman in the United States Air Force.

Airman Alfred Grannell, 460th Space Wing Comptroller Squadron budget analyst, works his job Dec. 22, 2016, in the financial management analysis office on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The FMA office handles budgeting for different units on base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob Deatherage)

Airman Alfred Grannell, 460th Space Wing Comptroller Squadron budget analyst, works his job Dec. 22, 2016, in the financial management analysis office on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The FMA office handles budgeting for different units on base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob Deatherage)

Airman Alfred Grannell, 460th Space Wing Comptroller Squadron budget analyst, talks with his fiancée, Debbie Coghiel of Portmore, Jamaica, through Facebook video chat Dec. 21, 2016, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Grannell uses video chat to communicate with his family and fiancée in his native country of Jamaica. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob Deatherage)

Airman Alfred Grannell, 460th Space Wing Comptroller Squadron budget analyst, talks with his fiancée, Debbie Coghiel of Portmore, Jamaica, through Facebook video chat Dec. 21, 2016, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Grannell uses video chat to communicate with his family and fiancée in his native country of Jamaica. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob Deatherage)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Few have the courage to leave their native country and serve in the United States military. For Airman Alfred Grannell, 460th Space Wing Comptroller Squadron budget analyst assigned to Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., it was the perfect opportunity to start a new journey on a solid foundation.

“My fiancée and I had other plans, but suddenly I had the opportunity to come here and stay with my father in New York,” said Grannell, a Portmore, Jamaica, native. “We decided it would be a good idea because everyone wants to come to America. But I didn’t know what I would do, so I began to look into the military. Specifically the Air Force.”

Leaving his fiancée and family behind, Grannell moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he contacted a recruiter and began the process of enlisting in the Air Force. Less than one year later, he shipped off to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, for basic military training.

“Initially I was struggling in basic,” said Grannell. “It was not only adjusting to basic training, but also adjusting to a new country. That took some time.”

Continuously adapting and improving, Grannell earned the “Most Improved Trainee” award at the end of BMT.

“You have to reprogram your mind,” said Grannell. “And that’s what I did.”

After basic training came technical training at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, where he would learn to be a budget analyst and was awarded academic excellence upon graduating. Grannell demonstrated exceptional performance through his work ethic and perseverance, and this was only the beginning of his career.

Grannell had hoped to be stationed in Florida near his extended family, and where the climate is similar to his home in Jamaica, but was assigned Buckley AFB as his first duty station.

“I like it here, there is nothing really bad,” said Grannell. “I have somewhere to sleep, I can eat and I’m getting paid. For now, I’m OK.”
Grannell’s co-workers play an influential role in helping him adapt to the operational Air Force.

“The people I have met so far in finance have been really supportive,” said Grannell. “From Airman, to NCO to Senior NCO, they have all helped make my transition much smoother.”

With the help of Senior Airman Jaden Wood, 460th CPTS budget analyst, Grannell has started gathering various documents that are vital to his progression in the military and as a U.S. citizen.

“When he first arrived here I took him to a post office and he applied for a U.S. passport, we went to the DMV and he received his learner's permit, and finally he started the process for getting his fiancée a visa so they could get married here in the U.S.,” stated Wood. “As these items suggest, he is very motivated to push toward his goals, and to get everything settled.”

This journey hasn’t been easy for Grannell, but he has adapted in order to continue moving forward. However, at each step of his new journey, he has shown the strength and resiliency to succeed.

“His ability to not only adapt, but to be successful as quickly as he has been is pretty inspiring,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kristopher Coats, 460th Space Wing Agency superintendent. “It even goes above that. The opportunity this country and the Air Force provides for him is huge. He is focused on his goals, and he’s going to achieve them.”
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