One Airman's Story: 2Lt. Maurice Ayidiya

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Elise Rich
  • 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs

In the fall of 2000, 2nd Lt. Maurice Ayidiya came to the U.S. on a student visa after receiving a scholarship from the Milwaukee School of Engineering to study electrical engineering.

“I packed my stuff at the age of nineteen, two bags, across the world. No family and actually no one was even on the campus when I arrived, it was the middle of Thanksgiving break. It was lonely, I spent my first Christmas alone in the dorms.”

Shortly after arriving in the states, Ayidiya found himself in the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s recruiting office.

“I initially was drawn to military service for the benefits and education, but have stayed in because I enjoyed serving.”

Ayidiya enlisted in the Wisconsin National Guard as a Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Specialist. Later, an interest in medicine led him to cross train and become an Army Combat Medic. This decision quickly took him downrange. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003-2004 as a combat medic with the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry Regiment.

It was in Iraq where he heard that his citizenship had been approved, but due to papers being lost between embassies, he couldn’t officially celebrate until he got home. However, it was when he came home that he experienced a shock that only war can give.

“Driving in my car on the way home from work I was listening to news radio, the report said five guys had been killed in the location I just came home from. I knew those guys, they had taken over for us when we left.”

The loss of his friends and terrible experiences during his time in Iraq left Ayidiya feeling at a loss at times. However, he said his ability to adapt has helped him tremendously.

“I’ve found myself in many uncomfortable situations, but you adapt. Adapt, readjust, realign”

Ayidiya said he believes so much of life is about energy. You can either use your energy complaining about problems or seeking solutions to problems.

When he completed his engineering degree, Ayidiya moved to St. Louis, Missouri. Despite still being a member of the Wisconsin National Guard he was able to work out an arrangement to drill with the Missouri Army National Guard stationed at Jefferson Barracks. This move allowed him to build relationships with the Missouri Air Guard’s medical personnel. His time with the Air National Guard inspired him to cross over to the Air side as a medic.

Shortly after moving over to the Air Guard his job was eliminated as part of Base Realignment and Closure. This time he decided to enter the world of Information and Technology and worked as a member of the 131st Bomb Wing Communications Flight.

Today, 2nd Lt. Ayidiya is a Cyber Warfare Officer for the 257th Combat Operations Flight. He is currently working on his doctorate in cyber warfare.

“Some people spoil themselves with a new car, but that doctorate is what I’m giving to myself, the education is what I seek.”

When asked about Black History Month and what it means to him, he said,

“I remember hearing something about the Tuskegee Airmen years ago, when I first enlisted. Someone had asked a Tuskegee Airman why they would fight for their country when the country treats black people as second class citizens. The Tuskegee Airman replied “my white brothers fight for what America is right now, but I fight for what America can be.’”

2nd Lt. Ayidiya said he holds to that philosophy.

“I don’t fight for the problems and the issues that America has. I fight for the future, the solutions that America will provide and the opportunity America gives.”