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From Nigeria to America, Army to Navy

2019 National Nurses Week Profile of Navy Lieutenant Commander Ogwo Uko Ogwo 2019 National Nurses Week Profile of Navy Lieutenant Commander Ogwo Uko Ogwo

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ogwo Uko Ogwo

Department head, Home Health
Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba


I knew I wanted to be a nurse when my mother was hospitalized. I appreciated the care she received and wanted to have such an impact on people’s lives.

I joined the military because my family had the opportunity to live the American dream. I was 16 when we emigrated from Nigeria. I became a U.S. citizen when I was about 35. I first served in the Army as a medical supply specialist, then was commissioned as an officer. I left after 12 years but missed the satisfaction I felt while serving, so I decided to return to active duty. I became a Navy nurse when I learned the sea service was short of perioperative nurses because of wartime billets.

The best thing about my job is the privilege to lead my fellow service members. As a servant leader, I thrive on opportunities to contribute to the personal and professional growth of others.

My most prominent memory of being a nurse was when I worked at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Then-President Obama and Vice President Pence each visited my unit.

I was most challenged when I was deployed to Afghanistan as an operating room nurse from December 2011 to July 2012. One trauma patient, in particular, was undergoing multiple surgeries over several hours and into the night. It was an intense and stressful experience.

My most memorable patient experience was taking care of warfighters while deployed to Iraq from November 2008 through July 2009.

When I’m not in uniform, I’m catching up with family members, jogging, playing table tennis, or participating in church and fellowship activities.

My nurse superpower is multitasking. In addition to my bachelor’s degree in nursing, I’ve earned a master’s degree in conflict resolution and conciliation.

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