Fort McCoy soldier volunteers helping Afghan refugees, receives recognition at Army-Navy football game

Sgt. Mohammad Jamil serves as translator at Fort McCoy helping Afghan Refugees resettle in U.S.

FORT MCCOY, Wis. (WKBT) – Moving to a new country can be a scary adventure. One U.S. Army sergeant at Fort McCoy understands what it’s like to settle down in a new country.

He is using that experience to help Afghan refugees find comfort on their new home soil. Embracing the unknown takes courage, but for some leaving home is the only way to survive. U.S. Army Sgt. Mohammad Jamil was born in Afghanistan. A country that faced war for two decades.

“There’s no guarantee that you might it back to your home alive,” Jamil said.

Jamil served the U.S. Army as a language translator in 2012 before moving to the U.S. in 2014.

“They always thanked me for the service that I did for their country,” Jamil said. “It was just a normal job for me.”

For Jamil, service is all he has known in his life. He feels a calling to help others because of the people who helped him.

“I was the one to be thankful the Americans favor to save my life,” Jamil said. “To move me to a country that I have a future.”

He wanted to earn the respect he received.

“And that’s how the U.S. Army comes in,” said Jamil, talking about his decision to join the U.S. Army as a soldier.

Operation Allies offered Jamil a chance to come to Fort McCoy and help Afghan refugees who experienced the same thing he did just a short time ago.

“I could help these people,” Jamil said.

Jamil offers language translation to Afghan refugees. This communication helps government officials and refugees understand each other. Refugees are able to process their paperwork so they can begin a new life outside this fort.

Jamil’s effort received recognition during a military tradition that dates back more than a century. Jamil attended the Army-Navy game where he was recognized by the Army Chief of Staff on the field during the game. He was nominated among hundreds of other Soldiers and was selected to be recognized by Gen. James McConville.

Fort McCoy hosted a watch party for this bitter rivalry on the field between these teams.

“It boosts morale. It gets the Marines together, sailors together,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Justin Kloppe. “It’s one team.”

It’s a game that brings out the pride of both military branches.

“It’s just brotherhood versus brotherhood you know,” said U.S. Navy HN Nicholas Carter.

A game both sides want to win while understanding they share a special connection as America’s defense.

“We’re all joint partners of the best fighting force in the history of the world,” said U.S. Army Col. Michael Poss, garrison commander at Fort McCoy

The national stage provided a moment Jamil will remember for the rest of his life.

“It’s amazing. Not a lot of people get this opportunity,” Jamil said. “I am extremely excited and happy about this.”

A man who embraced more than an unfamiliar journey. He used his experience to help shine a light on someone else’s unknown path.

“I’m wearing this uniform and I am happy that I made that decision,” Jamil said.