Journey of an Airman: The Gambia to NEANG

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexander Schriner

LINCOLN, Neb. – During his upbringing in Banjul, Gambia, Ebrima Minteh balanced his time between school and assisting his family at the nearby market. He found joy in playing soccer with friends and aiding fishermen in hopes of receiving some freshly caught fish from the Atlantic Ocean. Amidst these activities, his deepest aspiration was to journey to the United States of America and further his education.

Studying hard and excelling in school, Minteh’s dream came true in 2008 when he was accepted to Bellevue University and granted an F-1 student visa. He arrived in a new country taking classes immediately, but plans later changed when Minteh fell into financial hardship and had to drop out of school.

By working and saving money over time, Minteh reapplied to school and had his credits transferred over to the University of Nebraska Omaha. He then graduated with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration in 2020, but Minteh still wanted more in life.

Senior Airman Ebrima Minteh, structural journeyman with the 155th Civil Engineer Squadron, joined the Nebraska Air National Guard in 2021.

“I wanted to learn new skills and get involved with a hands-on job. I knew structures would give me that opportunity,” Minteh said. “Joining the military was also a way for me to give back to society and Nebraska. The camaraderie I’ve developed with Airmen has given me motivation that this is meant for me.”

Master Sgt. Michele Lucas, structures noncommissioned officer-in-charge with the 155th Civil Engineer Squadron, said Minteh is a quick learner and is always trying to grow as a person and Airman.

“He has excelled since day one from basic and tech school to finishing his Career Development Courses in three months,” Lucas said. ”Never slowing down, he’s always asking to be out here to learn new skills with our state guys. Everyone loves Minteh here and his future is very bright.”

Minteh said his time at the 155th Air Refueling Wing has been productive with also receiving an Air and Space Achievement Medal on a deployment in Jordan.

“I led eight joint service members during Operation Inherent Resolve, where we built many structures such as offices, a warehouse, and an Exchange facility,” Minteh said. “It resulted in preventing delays, opening ahead of schedule, and saving money.”

Not only has his short career in the 155th ARW been successful, but the American Dream is taking shape with his start-up business, said Minteh.

“I finally just got it registered and I do computer hardware installations for commercial businesses and much more,” Minteh said. “A lot of my time is tied up in having the business take off and obtaining contracts. I typically work anywhere from 10 to 15 hour days.”

Minteh said with a smile that he’s thankful for everything that has happened in life so far along with joining the military.

“No matter where you come from or where you start in life, always be persistent and never lose hope. Even though it may be difficult, explore new things and don’t be scared about possible change.” Minteh said. “Never losing hope and embracing something new led me to join and be a part of something bigger than myself. And serving is the greatest form of appreciation I can give back to the state of Nebraska and America.”