Kyrgyzstan Native joins Georgia Air National Guard

  • Published
  • By Capt. Ronald Cole
  • 116th Air Control Wing
From the time America was first colonized at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, it has been widely recognized as a place of opportunities and new beginnings. For centuries, people have left their countries of birth to provide a better life for themselves and their families. That too is the story of Senior Airman Asylbek Dzhapashov.

Dzhapashov is a personnel specialist with the Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th Mission Support Group at Robins Air Force Base. He was born and raised in Kyrgyzstan, a small landlocked country in Central Asia, and moved to the United States about seven years ago at 23 years old.

For most of his life, Dzhapashov dreamed of moving to the United States to better his chances at achieving his goals.

“I knew about the United States from movies, sports, news and books,” said Dzhapashov. “I knew that this country is the country of dreams and opportunities. That was my main reasoning for moving here; to chase my dreams, opportunities and a better life.”

After moving to the United States, Dzhapashov lived in Newport, Oregon. He spent the next few years living in different areas of the country like Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco before settling in Ellensburg, Washington. While traveling the country, Dzhapashov worked numerous jobs, from washing dishes and serving tables to driving taxi cabs and semi-trucks to provide for his family and save money to attend college.

“In 2017, I went back to school after doing many different jobs and saving up some money, that’s why I moved to the state of Washington,” said Dzhapashov. “I went to Central Washington University and received my Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in 2019.”

While attending college at Central Washington University, Dzhapashov joined the Washington Air National Guard as a drill status guardsman. A drill status guardsman is a person who serves in the Air National Guard one weekend each month, and two weeks each year, in a part time status.

“The main reason for me joining was I always wanted to be in the military and for the benefits,” said Dzhapashov. “However, after I joined it became bigger than that. I love this country and I can proudly say I serve for my country because it gave me and my family so much that I couldn’t imagine. Also, my daughter was born here and I want to be a great role model for her.”

After completing his degree, Dzhapashov took advantage of an opportunity to work fulltime with Amazon through a military apprenticeship program. This afforded him the opportunity to move to Atlanta, where he resides today.

“I moved to Atlanta in the spring of 2020,” said Dzhapashov. “I work as a Software Engineer in the Finance & Technology organization within Amazon. We build internal software for finance, auditors and engineers. It’s a centralized database from where users can see all financial data for all of Amazon and its subsidiaries around the world.”

2020 was a big year for Dzhapashov. First he moved to Atlanta, then he decided to continue his military career and transferred to the Georgia Air National Guard where he continues to serve in the 116th Air Control Wing. Dzhapashov also earned his United States citizenship that year.

“Being a member of the Georgia Air National Guard is great and I love my unit, my group and my wing,” Dzhapashov added. “I am surrounded with amazing people and with leadership who are role models for me. Leadership is always open minded and always ready to help. For example, when we had a fire in our apartment complex, my unit was there for us and helped a lot. My unit is my family. I enjoy the opportunities and I am always ready to defend and serve for our country. I am proud and happy to be part of it.”

English is Dzhapashov’s third language. His first language is Kyrgyz, followed by Russian as his second language. He also speaks Turkish fluently as his fourth language. In his free time, Dzhapashov enjoys time with his family, playing soccer and freestyle wrestling. Additionally, he is always ready to encourage others to set goals for themselves and reach them.

“It has been a rough ride for me since I moved here,” said Dzhapashov. “I moved to America with only $300. I always tell people to keep pushing and searching. Nowadays it’s easy to find answers online or you can always ask people. Getting a degree is still important, and it helps to boost yourself for better jobs, but it’s not a necessity. People can make it without a degree as well, as soon as we don’t stop progressing.”