A refugee has become a reservist in the Royal Marines 15 years after his first encounter with them on the war-torn streets of Kosovo.
At the height of the Kosovo War, back in 1999, teenager Arben Islami saw Nato troops enter his country as part of the campaign to end Slobodan Milosevic’s persecution of ethnic Kosovo Albanians. Among those forces were the green berets of the Royal Marines.
At the time, the 14-year-old looked up to these men with awe, unaware of the remarkable path that lay ahead.
He fled Kosovo shortly afterwards, a solitary young refugee whose only hope was reaching an uncle he had heard about in the UK.
Making his away across Europe he arrived, destitute, in the UK where he was immediately placed into foster care. Over the years he learned English and settled in Birmingham.
He adapted to British life but never forgot where he came from or his encounters with the Royal Marines. So strong was the pull to join them, that at the age of 28 he passed the commando course and fulfilled his boyhood dream enabling him to proudly wear the green beret.
Marine Islami said:
As children we saw the marines in Kosovo and I knew I wanted to be one of them. Then I fled and came to the UK. I didn’t have the intention at the time as I was only just a young kid but when I got indefinite leave to stay here and became British I knew I had to....
Go read the rest of this great story here.
Thank you for your Service, Marine.