INDIANAPOLIS - An Afghan evacuee who supported U.S. troops overseas enlisted into the Indiana National Guard during a ceremony at the Indianapolis Military Entry Processing Station in Lawrence March 3.
Recruit Mohammad Zaki Ahmadi recited the oath of enlistment and signed his paperwork for a three-year commitment to the Guard.
“I’m very excited, and I am blessed with all these opportunities,” said Ahmadi. “I’m grateful.”
Ahmadi was one of approximately 7,000 Afghan evacuees who filtered through Camp Atterbury as part of Operation Allies Welcome.
While there, Ahmadi used his language skills and worked for the base’s recreation center, making new friends. He helped his peers acclimate to a new land and ease their way of life on a Spartan military base by loaning out sports equipment like bicycles, soccer balls and basketballs.
Ahmadi, who has a bachelor’s degree in English literature, will join the Guard as a specialist. He previously used his mastery of the English language in Afghanistan to support U.S. forces as a translator and interpreter starting in 2010.
By 2018, Ahmadi said he was lead interpreter helping the State Department at the U.S. embassy. He said he helped commanders and Guard members find trustworthy people and then vetted them to ensure troop safety. In all, he assisted 900 people at two bases in Kabul, Afghanistan.
He said he looks forward to the opportunities the Indiana National Guard provides and, because of his experience, has a sound basis for his military service.
“I loved what I’ve experienced. Joining the National Guard, I have a solid background,” said Ahmadi. “And I like Indiana.”
He said joining the Guard is yet another chance to give back to his community.
Ahmadi works for Catholic Charities as a case manager and helps his fellow Afghans adjust to American culture.
“I help them find a job, find a car and find a place to live, and then they are set,” said Ahmadi.
For now, Ahmadi will continue to help others until his ship date to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, for basic training and then advanced training to become a financial management technician. He plans to join the 177th Financial Management Support Detachment.
“I have an interest in keeping records and financial records,” said Ahmadi. “At the end of the day, if there’s a need, I have to be a Soldier.”