Story by Lt. Jennifer K Cunningham
Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti provides, operates, and sustains superior service in support of combat readiness and security of ships, aircraft, detachments and personnel for regional and combatant command requirements, enabling operations and providing stability in the Horn of Africa while fostering positive U.S.-African Nations relations.
Agunbiade, who emigrated from Nigeria in 2007, enlisted in the Navy as a storekeeper in 2008 and commissioned as an officer in 2013, credits his success in the Navy to the lessons he learned as an immigrant in his adopted hometown of Lake Crystal as well as in Nigeria.
“One key lesson in life is to treat people with respect,” Agunbiade said. “Always give your best in what you do—my dad taught me that.”
According to Navy officials, maintaining maritime superiority is a vital part of a Navy that is present today and prepared for tomorrow. The impact affects Americans and their interests around the world, as more than 70 percent of the Earth is covered by water and 90 percent of all trade travels by sea.
“Camp Lemonnier is a key Navy base and a vital asset to the United States as our location in the Horn of Africa overlooks the world’s fourth busiest waterway,” said Capt. Ken Crowe, commanding officer of Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti. “A mission as critical as ours comes with a lot of responsibilities and challenges, but our military members and civilians work hard. I’m honored to serve alongside each and every one of them, including Lt. Agunbiade.”
Agunbiade plays an important role in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“I am confident that we will maximize the Navy we have today while delivering the Navy that our nation will rely upon tomorrow,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “We will do so with urgency. Our fleet will be a potent, formidable force that competes around the world every day, deterring those who would challenge us while reassuring our allies and partners.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Agunbiade is most proud of being named the Navy’s 2018 Officer Recruiter of the Year.
“I joined the Navy 12 years ago as an enlisted member and became a U.S. citizen a year later,” said Agunbiade. “While I didn’t join for that reason, becoming a citizen has been a blessing and a bonus and I’m proud to have given back to the Navy.”
Agunbiade is the first in his family to serve in the military and hopes to begin a family tradition.
“I pray my son chooses to join the Navy for three reasons,” Agunbiade said. “First, I hope he does it so he can appreciate what the country has given our family. Second, it will teach him respect for diversity, and third, I hope he does it because this uniform has changed my life and I know it can change his for the better, too.”
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Agunbiade, and other sailors stationed at Camp Lemonnier and around the world, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
“The best part about being in the Navy is the travel, especially when I was on a ship,” Agunbiade said. “I’ve been able to visit 30 countries without paying anything out of pocket.”