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The rise of Amanda Azubuike in US military

A United States Army officer of Nigerian descent, Amanda Azubuike, was in November decorated with the rank of Brigadier-General of the force. Born in London, United…

A United States Army officer of Nigerian descent, Amanda Azubuike, was in November decorated with the rank of Brigadier-General of the force.

Born in London, United Kingdom, to Nigerian parents, Azubuike joined the US Army in 1994 and became an aviator after passing the Army Aviation Officer Basic Course.

She currently serves as a Deputy Commanding Officer at the US Army Cadet Command and previously served as a Chief of Staff/Senior Military Advisor at the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

She shared the story of her journey to becoming a Brigadier General in the US Army, revealing how her family and faith in God played vital roles in her career.

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She recalled how her parents passed away six years ago, saying it would have been a proud day for them. Amanda’s father and mother hailed from Nigeria and Zimbabwe, respectively.

She made the statement after she was decorated with her latest rank on the 3rd of November, 2022. The statement was uploaded on Twitter the same day.

“My parents passed away in the last six years. This would have been a proud day for them. But I want to acknowledge my family members who were able to come and travel to be with me here today. Thank you all for coming and sharing this day with me.

“I have said before that you can learn a lot about someone by their journey. So today I am going to share a little bit about my journey and how I got here because I really never thought I would be here today.

“I believe my journey is a true testament to my family, my faith in God and also this great country that we live in. I think it is what my mother dreamt of when she left and decided to immigrate to this country years ago.

 “I joined the US army even before I became a citizen, and I always knew this country was great, that it was worth fighting for. I am very proud of my heritage, my ethnic roots, we are proud to be American,” she said after being decorated.  

Amanda Azubuike’s education

She was enrolled at Jacksonville High School until 1988 when she got admitted to the University of Central Arkansas where she bagged a Bachelor of Science (BSc) Mass Communication/Media Studies between 1989 and 1993.

Between 1994 and 1995, she attended the Army Aviation Officer Basic Course, a Military Intelligence Captains Career Course in 1999 before enrolling for a Fixed Wing Multi-Engine Qualification Course in 2000.

In 2005, she attended the Defense Information School for a course in Public Affairs/Public Relations/Media Relations to improve her PR skills. She however didn’t stop there, as she proceeded to the US Army Command and General Staff College in 2008 for an Intermediate Level Education (ILE).

From 2013 to 2014, she enrolled in a Master of Arts (MA) programme in National Security and Strategic Studies at the United States Army War College before adding a Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations/Corporate Communications at Georgetown University in 2012.  

 Amanda Azubuike’s career  

Azubuike described herself as a senior military leader and public affairs professional with more than 15 years of communications experience, and 30 years of military leadership.

She has an extensive background in all aspects of communications, led numerous teams in successful communication efforts, demonstrated excellence in developing plans and strategies, conducting media relations, crisis communications, digital campaigns, enhancing internal and external stakeholder relations, and global affairs.

Azubuike joined the US Army and served as an Army aviator, starting her aviation career in the UH-1H Huey helicopter and transitioning to the RC-12D/H Guardrail (fixed wing). Army aviation took her from the Sinai to Korea.

She conducted a range of missions in both airframes from lift and transport in support of observer controllers from the State Department in the UH-1H, to real-world Surveillance Reconnaissance and Observations missions flying RC-12s in South Korea.

Additionally, her experience included leading aircraft mechanics and pilots, training, planning, mission validation/certification, logistics and maintenance operations in support of assigned units.

On July 2005, she was made the Third Army/US Army Central Public Affairs Officer at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait where she coordinated daily operations, including the production of public affairs guidance, annexes, media releases, and media awareness training for leaders and potential interviewees.

She also provided analysis of Arab print and electronic media output, maintained coordination with US Embassy PAO and representatives throughout the Central Command area of operations and built and maintained active relationships with local and regional media.

After her outstanding performance, she was promoted to the position of Third Army/US Army Central Public Affairs Operations Chief in August 2006 at Fort McPherson, GA/Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, the position she held for six years and a month.

While there, she coordinated daily operations, including future planning for contingency operations, media facilitation and community outreach; produced many products including talking points, press releases, speeches, media advisories, brochures, and soldier’s media cards.

She also managed content on the unit’s website and Facebook page and prepared senior leaders and subject matter experts for media engagements, including media interviews and speeches.

Azubuike also carried out continuous coordination with the US embassies (Egypt, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Tajikistan, Jordan), Central Command, and Department of the Army for synchronization of messages while at the same time building and maintaining positive relationships with local and regional media.

In January 2013, she was appointed Acting Director, Community Relations Division, Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, US Army, Washington DC Metro Area.

As part of her duties, she led the Community Relations Division on Army-wide outreach programmes designed to strengthen relationships and inform advocates, media, legislature and other stakeholders across the country.

She also developed communications plans for high-visibility events and produced numerous briefings for the Chief of Public Affairs, Director of the Army Staff, Chief of Staff of the Army and Secretary of the Army, focused on informing and educating diverse audiences through sports outreach, media engagements, executive leader speaking events, the AUSA annual meeting, the Army’s Birthday, Veteran summits, commemorations, discussion panels, and many other platforms.

Azubuike was responsible for managing the priorities for the OCPA regional offices in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles, in addition to the COMREL staff in the Pentagon.

Amanda was made Director, Public Affairs US Forces Afghanistan on November 2014, holding the position till November 2015. While in this position, she was deployed with a US contingent of 30,000 US service members at its height, including Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines.

She was responsible directly to the Deputy Commanding General – Support for all public affairs activities with the objective of informing key audiences in the United States, Afghanistan and the region in order to accomplish strategic and operational objectives including command information, media relations, current operations and strategic communications – with special emphasis on social media.

She also provided public affairs advice and strategic communications direction and support to senior leadership on the USFOR-A staff.

She was made the Director of Public Affairs, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, GA until August 2016 where she was the chief spokesperson for an Army Division consisting of 23,000 soldiers; led a team responsible for programs that drive community outreach, media relations and internal communications.

Apart from these, she provided public affairs guidance and counsel to the commanding general and senior leaders, built and expanded relationships with community leaders, media outlets, and corporate and private organisations through various community opportunities, engage the army’s external and internal audiences through traditional and social media via multiple platforms and forums and was directly responsible for the development, mentoring and professional growth of two officers and seven soldiers on her staff in addition to oversight, mentoring and professional development of approximately 20 brigade level PA professionals.

From September 2016 to January 2018, she was the Director of Public Affairs, Joint Force HQs-National Capital Region/Military District of Washington, District Of Columbia and in January 2018, she was the Chief of Public Affairs, United States Southern Command, Miami/Fort Lauderdale Area, the position she held until April 20213.

Having performed credibly, she was appointed Chief of Staff/Senior Military Advisor to the Principal Deputy ATSD(PA), Office of the Secretary of Defense between June 2021 – June 2022 in Washington, District of Columbia, United States.

Azubuike became Deputy Commanding General US Army in July 2022, the position she is holding to date.