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The NYC Veterans Oral History Project: Adeyemi Oloruntoba

September 26, 2013

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Mr. Oloruntoba served in the United States Air Force from 1998-2002. Originally posted to Air Force One, he was not able to fulfill the position since he was not a US Citizen. Instead, Mr. Oloruntoba stayed in the United States and pursued a Master’s Degree while specializing in finance in the Air Force. Because of his immigration status, Mr. Oloruntoba was critical in the discourse between the Air Force and Immigration Services. He also enjoyed volunteering in the communities where he was deployed. Recently, Mr Oloruntoba ran for New York City Council in District 12. He dislikes how veterans sometimes end up homeless, unemployed, or at risk for suicide, and hopes to help make their situations better.

Major Points in Interview

:45 - Joined the Air Force after studying as a transfer student from Nigeria.

2:58 - Joined as an enlisted senior airmen, because he was not a US Citizen.

4:54 -  Had a private pilot license from Nigeria, so he worked towards being a pilot.

6:02 - Chose finance as his focus and talks about why finance was important.

7:33 - Works for a unit called Strategy Command, worked with finance people from all the branches.

10:15 - Posted to Air Force One, but then he could not go because of he was not a US citizen.

11:40 - Joined the Fighting 55th in Denver where he worked for Strategy Command.

12:14 - Loved moving around all over the country, so he could do the work he wanted to do.

14:30 - Attended evening classes & earned a Master’s Degree while working regular mission.

18:25 - Decided to live off base in Omaha, NE and enjoyed volunteering in the community.

19:38 - Was still on active duty on 9/11.

20:45 - President George W. Bush debriefed about Afghanistan at his base.

23:53 - Got to meet both Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush when they visited his base.

25:34 - Felt a part of the war effort, even in the United States.

26:52 - Worked as liaison between Air Force and Immigration Services.

28:05 - Worked for Pacific Union after finishing with the Air Force.

29:45 - Worked for NYPD and discusses differences between police and military.

30:55 - Ran for New York City Council in District 12.

31:20 - Serves on Neighborhood Community Board in District 12.

32:24 - Everybody should go to the military because of the discipline it instills.

33:35 - Hates how many veterans end up homeless, commit suicide, and are unemployed.

34:51 - Elected officials helping veterans more is the main reason he ran for office.

36:40 - While he feels joining the military is good, the risk of death is one aspect that it is important to consider.

38:20 - Impacted by experience of seeing homeless veterans in Austin, Texas, where the weather is nicer than New York City so the homeless are more visible.

39:38 - Works as a Legionnaire to fight for veterans in Congress and calls for the government to do better in its treatment of veterans..

40:42 - Feels it is very important to not just read and hear stories of veterans, but also fight for better treatment of veterans.