Story by Capt. Corey Schultz
KITGUM, Uganda-- Rockville, Md.,
resident Sgt. Dixion Rwakasyaguri left
his native Uganda at the age of 20
to come to the United States with his family.
He pursued and achieved the
"American dream:" married with two daughters,
he is a month away from earning his MBA
and a sergeant with the Army
Reserve's 400th Military Police Battalion
out of Fort Meade, Md.
Rwakasyaguri has had a successful career
as an Army Reserve MP, and is a veteran
of Operation Iraqi Freedom, having deployed
to Camp Bucca, Iraq, in 2008
with the 400th MP Battalion.
Now it was time to give back.
When "Sgt. Rock," as he is known to friends,
found out that a detachment of MPs
was heading to Uganda to support U.S.
Army Africa's exercise Natural Fire 10,
he jumped at the chance
to return to the country of his birth.
"Natural Fire" is a partnership exercise
between the United States and five
East African countries: Uganda, Kenya,
Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
The 1,200 participants gathered
in northern Uganda, near the town
of Kitgum, and for 10 days practiced
convoy operations and disaster relief.
Medical and dental personnel set up
at local clinics, treating about
700 Ugandan citizens a day
for illnesses and injuries such as malaria,
skin infection, asthma –even
providing psychological counseling.
Though they did not bring maternity
capabilities, through a fortunate
coincidence an emergency room nurse,
1st. Lt. Victoria Lynn Watson,
with the 7231st Medical Support Unit
in Lubbock, Texas, is a labor and
delivery nurse in her civilian occupation.
She rushed to help when a 19-year-old
Ugandan woman went into labor
at the gate of Pajimo Clinic –and
90 minutes later delivered
a healthy, 5.5 pound baby boy.
Rwakasyaguri and the other
Army Reserve MPs provided
force protection and security
for the forward operating base
in rural Kitgum.
They escorted generals and other
distinguished visitors, operated
the entry control points,
and conducted patrols.
They kept the camp and the participants safe.
"I became an MP because I like
taking care of people," Rwakasyaguri explained.
Rwakasyaguri also stated he enjoyed
working with the Ugandan soldiers.
Ugandan and U.S. MPs worked
side-by-side at the ECPs and on patrol.
"It was a blessing to come home
and be able to help out, not only
with our Soldiers, but with
my fellow Ugandans," Rwakasyaguri said.
He was even able to take time off from
his MP duties and travel 200 miles south
to Entebbe, where he met with
several cousins and their children
for a leisurely dinner and
a lot of catching up on news.
Then it was back to work in Kitgum.
Rwakasyaguri explained that even
though he is a native Ugandan,
he does not speak the same language
of the local Kitgum Soldiers.
There are more than 40 languages
spoken in Uganda, and the dialects
differ greatly, though many Ugandans
speak English and Swahili
to have a common language.
However, he stated, working together
can bridge the language barrier
and build understanding.
"I'm proud to be here –I think
it's a very useful mission," Rwakasyaguri said.
Sent from Kigali, Rwanda