Kenyan Man Paul Kengara Leading US Navy Special Operation in 14 Countries

Kenyan Man Paul Kengara Leading US Navy Special Operation in 14 Countries
Kenyan Man Paul Kengara Leading US Navy Special Operation in 14 Countries

Paul Kengara, a target developer for US Africa Command, is currently an assessor for exercise Cutlass Express 2023.

Cutlass Express (CE) is an annual Maritime Exercise sponsored by US Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and conducted by United States Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF) in the West Indian Ocean and East African coastal regions. As an assessor, he evaluates the mission’s progress, offering insights and solutions.

Born and raised in Nairobi, Kengara was enlisted in the US Navy a year before he finished his degree. Although he moved to different ranks before being appointed to his role, his father had earlier opposed the idea of joining the navy.

Kengara recalled that his father had reservations due to the war in Iraq and other parts of the world where US soldiers were deployed.

“So when I wanted to join the military, my dad immediately was like “there’s no way.” At this point it was 2003, the Iraq war was in full swing, and I had all these resources and other options available,” Kengara told US naval forces.

“I 100 per cent went against the culture there – he didn’t talk to me for a while because of it. But I had a plan, I had a reason to do it – to carve a path, to finish my degree, and to commission,” he added.

Despite his family’s reservation, Kengara was enlisted in US Navy and deployed as a duty mechanic for a helicopter squadron in San Diego, Southern California.

“After two years, I departed to my next tour on an aircraft carrier – the USS Kitty Hawk with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14 in Japan,” Kengara further indicated.

In the Navy, Kengara was responsible for the professional development of Sailors. 15 years later, he was transferred to the Reserves, a decision which left him in a dilemma.

“After 15 years, I got out. It was an emotional decision, and I wanted to go to school for something that didn’t tie to my community really well,” Kengara recalled.

“So I got out, and went Reserves. Part of me regrets it – it hasn’t been easy in the Reserves. You know, active duty, your path is charted for you – when it’s time to rotate, your detailer tells you where to go; you have admin officers taking care of your records for you,” he added.

Nonetheless, he was later picked as an assessor for exercise Cutlass Express 2023, his current role.

The exercise was designed to promote national and regional security in the Western Indian Ocean and increase interoperability between the US and other East African countries.

In the two weeks, 14 countries were listed to participate in the exercise, including Canada, Comoros, Djibouti, France, Georgia, Greece, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania, United Kingdom and the US.



Kenyan Man Paul Kengara Leading US Navy Special Operation in 14 Countries

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