Former Cameroon Special Forces staff sergeant Bertrand Bucuka, now an aerospace medical service specialist with the U.S. Air Force, has shared his story of gaining asylum in the U.S. Bucuka, who had refused unethical orders from his superiors in Cameroon and feared for his life, fled his home country, endured a perilous journey through South and Central America, and arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017. After a two-month investigation, he was granted entry into the U.S., and in 2018, was officially granted asylum. He now serves the U.S. Air Force as a way of showing gratitude to those who helped him.
- Bertrand Bucuka served in the Cameroon Special Forces where he faced ethical dilemmas, including orders to spy on U.S. military personnel and to execute an unarmed, injured man. His refusal to follow these orders put his life in jeopardy, prompting him to flee Cameroon.
- Bucuka’s journey to the U.S. was fraught with challenges, including being denied entry in certain countries, being arrested and detained at borders, and relying on smugglers. He eventually reached the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego in 2017 and explained his situation to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.
- After a two-month investigation, Bucuka was released and allowed entry into the U.S., with asylum officially granted in 2018. He then joined the U.S. Air Force as a means of expressing his gratitude to those who assisted him.
- Bucuka now serves as an aerospace medical service specialist with the 1st Special Operations Medical Group at Hurlburt Field, a role vastly different from his experience on the battlefield in Cameroon.
- He uses his past military experiences to conduct briefings with special operations forces, sharing his experience to strengthen U.S. relations with Africa, and hopes to use his medical skills to support humanitarian efforts.