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Army ROTC Dreams Of Opportunity
by Sam Mitchell
Murray State University, CST Public Affairs Office
August 3, 2023

At Cadet Summer Training, Army Cadets come from across the United States and beyond to learn.

One of the Army’s greatest strengths is its diversity and Cadet Rahul Khanal from the University of Colorado Denver, shares how his story of duty and pride has carried him across oceans to become an Army officer.

Originally from Nepal in South Asia, Khanal traveled to the United States when he was 19 years old.

July 22, 2023 - U.S. Army Cadet Rahul Khanal, University of Colorado, Boulder, 8th Regiment, Advanced Camp applies camouflage in preparation for the next situational training exercise lane, known as STX. The STX prepares Cadets for the remainder of their time spent in the field at the end of Cadet Summer Training. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from photo by Sam Mitchell, Murray State University, CST Public Affairs Office.)
July 22, 2023 - U.S. Army Cadet Rahul Khanal, University of Colorado, Boulder, 8th Regiment, Advanced Camp applies camouflage in preparation for the next situational training exercise lane, known as STX. The STX prepares Cadets for the remainder of their time spent in the field at the end of Cadet Summer Training. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from photo by Sam Mitchell, Murray State University, CST Public Affairs Office.)

“This was the land of opportunity. I was going to college, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in information technology,” Khanal said. “I got a chance to join the military through a program called MAVNI (Military Accessions Vital to National Interest). I thought that was a great opportunity for me to pursue my career in the Army.”

MAVNI was a program put in place to allow easier access to citizenship for immigrants working in healthcare or enlisted individuals with special language and cultural backgrounds. Unfortunately as of 2017, this program is no longer in effect and it is unsure if or when it will go back into use.

“I enlisted in April 2013, as an aircraft pneudraulics repairer. I was stationed in Hawaii, Germany, and Fort Carson, Colorado,” Khanal said. “I got a lot of opportunities in new places with new people. I’m planning on serving the rest of my career as an Army officer. The United States gave me a lot as an individual and I want to pay back by giving at least 20 years of my service.”

Khanal took his steps towards the officer route through the Green to Gold program (Active-Duty Option) and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in information systems with a concentration in cybersecurity.

The Green to Gold program allows active-duty enlisted soldiers the opportunity to complete their first bachelor’s or postgraduate degree in order to commission as an officer in the United States Army.

“Any individual who wants to have a good career field with a lot of opportunities can find that here,” Khanal said. “The Army paid for my bachelor’s and I’m not paying anything for my master’s. I wanted to further my studies and to have a better life.”

Like many others, Khanal is grateful for the Army for having provided a passage towards success. Coming from Nepal, he has a great sense of pride for his career path.

July 22, 2023 - Cadets from 8th Regiment, Advanced Camp, completed the first day of their field situational exercise training on July 22, 2023. The STX prepares Cadets for the remainder of their time spent in the field at the end of Cadet Summer Training. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from photo by Sam Mitchell, Murray State University, CST Public Affairs Office.)
July 22, 2023 - Cadets from 8th Regiment, Advanced Camp, completed the first day of their field situational exercise training on July 22, 2023. The STX prepares Cadets for the remainder of their time spent in the field at the end of Cadet Summer Training.
(Image created by USA Patriotism! from photo by Sam Mitchell, Murray State University, CST Public Affairs Office.)

“In Nepalese culture, being in any military is a way to be praised, to be recognized. You’re seen as having a good profession,” Khanal said. “My mom is still in Nepal and any time she sees me in uniform, she’s really happy and proud. I think that’s one of the proudest moments for me as well.”

That pride is shown in more than just his immediate family, commonly being recognized by others from Nepal since it’s a sought after career path.

“A lot of people from Nepal go towards the Army, whether it’s British or Indian or any other kind. Being able to serve in one of the strongest militaries in the world is a pride for me and my family,” Khanal said. “It gives me the drive to go even further. I want to be the guy from some small place ending up where you dream of.”

Being a part of the Army has given Khanal the chance to approach his dreams. These dreams are more than just his own, they are dreams that many from his home nation hold for him as he continues along his path.

“When I speak to someone from Nepal, they all let me know that I’m doing well, even more so as I continue towards the path of being an officer,” Khanal said. “Being able to do that has been a dream. Since I enlisted this was my goal, I didn’t know where I wanted to branch like I do now, but I’ve known that this is where I wanted to be.”

Like many others, the Army provides immense opportunities for those who need to find their way. Whether or not they know the path that lies ahead for them, they can rest assured that they will get the chance to find and achieve their dreams. “I’ve got a huge debt of gratitude to the Army,” Khanal said. “It gave me everything I’ve got today, so I want to pay it back for as long as I can serve. I would do it until they kicked me out.”

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