Cameroonian Selected for U.S. Naval Academy

Defense Attaché, Commander Sean Hays (right); Colonel Nji Nformukong, Director of Human Resources at the MINDEF (left), congratulate Stephane Ezechiel Mekoua, on his competitive selection to attend the United States Naval Academy (USNA) at Annapolis, Mary
Defense Attaché, Commander Sean Hays (right); Colonel Nji Nformukong, Director of Human Resources at the MINDEF (left), congratulate Stephane Ezechiel Mekoua… View full caption

On June 6, the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde bid “bon voyage” to Mr. Stephane Ezechiel Mekoua, who will be a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy (USNA) at Annapolis, Maryland.  He will start his education and training this month.   Stephane faced tough competition from thousands of applicants from the U.S. and other nations to gain admission to Annapolis, whose stated mission is “As the undergraduate college of our country’s naval service, the Naval Academy prepares young men and women to become professional officers of competence, character, and compassion in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Naval Academy students are midshipmen on active duty in the U.S. Navy.” Read more here: http://www.usna.edu/About/index.php.

The U.S. Military Academies program is instituted by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) in partnership with Cameroon’s Ministry of Defense (MINDEF).  Each year, the United States allocates up to six admission slots with fully funded educations for Cameroonian students at their military academies, which are: 1) the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; 2) the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and 3) the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York.

Every year MINDEF organizes a contest open to all Cameroonians between the ages of 17 and 22, with only 20 applicants selected as finalists.  Their names are then forwarded to the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, where the students work closely with Education USA Advisor Richard Ewane to complete their application process. The students go through months of grueling physical and academic preparation before completing their application requirements, which also include a physical fitness and medical tests.

Upon completion of their studies in the U.S. Military academies, graduates are commissioned as officers in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Cameroon and return to their home to serve their country.

Education USA Advisor Richard Ewane said: “This year, Mr. Mekoua, whose application was unsuccessful two years ago, was the only candidate selected by the Naval Academy.  After being unsuccessful in 2014, Mr. Mekoua took two years to work on his physical fitness, his mastery of the English language, and also to prepare for the SAT and TOEFL, which are mandatory for the application process.  He came back in 2016 better prepared and, this time, was selected for this prestigious institution. Mr. Mekoua is the first Cameroonian to be selected in the past two years!”

Mr. Mekoua visited the U.S. Embassy with his mother and were greeted by Defense Attaché, Commander Sean Hays; Colonel Nji Nformukong, Director of Human Resources at the MINDEF; Cultural Affairs Officer Merlyn Schultz; Program Manager at the AFRICOM Office of Security Cooperation David Mbila; and Education USA Advisor Richard Ewane.

Commander Hays presented Mr. Mekoua with his admission certificate and congratulations letter lauding his admission into Annapolis while cautioning him “on the tough journey that lies ahead.”  He also consoled Mrs. Mekoua, who was moved by the sight of her youngest son becoming a military officer candidate, telling her that she “should be very proud of his accomplishment and that he will return stronger than ever before.” Colonel Nji also congratulated the young cadet, telling him that it is his duty to do his country proud and wishing him the best of luck as he goes to the United States.

This Military Academies program is a testament to the strong partnership between the people of the United States of America and the Republic of Cameroon.  If you are interested in participating, keep an eye out for the official announcement from the Ministry of Defense, which is published in all major media outlets. Please join us in wishing Mr. Mekoua tremendous success in the United States.  On est ensemble!

Full caption: Defense Attaché, Commander Sean Hays (right); Colonel Nji Nformukong, Director of Human Resources at the MINDEF (left), congratulate Stephane Ezechiel Mekoua, on his competitive selection to attend the United States Naval Academy (USNA) at Annapolis, Maryland. [USEYde Photo]