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Feature Stories

NEWS | June 7, 2021

Living, Sharing his American Dream

U.S. Army Central

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Capt. Joseph Dieusener, like many children in Haiti, was born poor. Dieusener, Watch Officer for U.S. Army Central’s Operations Center - Kuwait, remembers his life before moving to the U.S.

“The little town I was born in was Go navies, just north of Port Au Prince, and the opportunities there are almost non-existent,” said Dieusener. “You even had to pay for primary school. All the education you got from kindergarten until college had to be paid for by your parents.”

Dieusener’s education was paid for by his father, who left Haiti when his wife was only three months pregnant in order to secure a better life for his family

“I didn’t really get to know him until I was about 11 years old,” Dieusener said. “By the time he completed the process to get us to the States, I was 14 years old.”

His parents had been planning their arrival for years, saving money and trying to prepare the best they could, but it was still somewhat difficult to be a new American going into high school.

“It was interesting. Learning the english language in Haiti and learning it in the States is a very big difference, and the culture was so different. I didn’t have too many friends then, so I watched a lot of T.V.”

During high school, Dieusener joined the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, or JROTC, which led him to join the Army National Guard as a 92A, logistics specialist, at 17 years old.

“It was difficult to convince my father to literally co-sign for me to join the Guard,” said Dieusener. “But my mother said, ‘He’s going to sign up when he’s 18 anyway, so you might as well give him these extra couple of months.’”

Using tuition assistance, Dieusener began college. He wasn’t able to finish a degree at that time, though.

“Within 2 years is when 9/11 occurred,” he said. “My unit was getting deployed and I went with them.”

Dieusener would spend the next year in Iraq ensuring that the Soldiers of his unit were taken care of administratively.

“Once I got back home, that’s when I got married, and the focus was on family and kids. So I dropped out of college and got a job at the Sheriff's department,” said Dieusener. “It was around that time that my wife said, ‘I don’t think I want you to stay in the military anymore. Just stay and be a cop.’ and it was a family consensus.”

Dieusener left the military for about 4 years. When him and his wife divorced, he decided it was time to reenlist. He joined the U.S. Army Reserve as a 12B, combat engineer.

“I was going back to something I really didn’t want to get out of, but for family purposes I did. This time I wanted something a little less admin, and a little more action,” he said. “Combat engineer was a big thing at that time, so I went for it.”

Dieusener went back to college at that time as well.

He said, “About 3 years later, I graduated and commissioned.”

Dieusener had Engineer and Military Police as his top two choices for branch assignments when he received his commission, as he had a background in both fields. “They offered me engineer, I said ‘I’ll take it!’” he said with a chuckle.

Post-college, and freshly commissioned as an Officer, Dieusener was again called on to deploy. This time his unit was heading to Afghanistan to provide route clearance for convoys of troops and supplies.

He explained, “It was a pretty average deployment. I enjoyed it, had a good team, and it was kind of fun.”

It was during this deployment that Dieusener got the idea to start a business that would not only bring him some extra money, but also help others.

“I saved about 70 thousand dollars and started buying up properties. Now we have a total of about 21 units,” said Dieusener. “We buy properties that need repair, and we repair them mostly by ourselves.”

That helps Dieusener keep rent low, about $150 below the average for the area, affording tenants an opportunity to save money and work toward their own American dream.

Dieusener has spent the better part of the last two years at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. Initially deploying as an engineer officer. His unit was beginning their redeployment when COVID-19 stopped everything.

He said, “They were looking for an officer to fill this [Watch Officer] position, but everything stopped. Including travel. So the person that was chosen stateside wasn’t able to come out here.”

Dieusener was selected to remain, and moved to the Operations Center for all of U.S. Army Central’s units in Kuwait. As Dieusener leaves Kuwait, he has many things to look forward to. His oldest son will be graduating high school a few days after he returns home, and he’ll be having a long-overdue wedding ceremony next month.

“My wife will not let me live if we don’t have this ceremony,” he laughed. “We’ve already been married, it’s set in stone. But it’s something she believes in and it's part of her culture. So she wants it, and I’m going to give it to her. We’re married, and I’m in for the ride,” he said with a smile, as he reflectEd on what his next Army and life chapters will bring.