KATHMANDU, Aug 22: Kamala Shrestha, a resident of Kathmandu, got a call from her son, Saral Shrestha, studying in the Unites States.
“I’m trying my hands on something big, please pray for me,” he said over the phone. He did not elaborate on what he was going to do or what was on his mind. She later found out that her son was getting admitted in the US Army and she wasn’t too happy about it.
After three years, her heart has changed towards her son’s profession and she’s very proud of his success. Sergeant Saral Shrestha of the US Army recently was awarded ‘Soldier of the Year, 2012’.
“I don’t see any reason to not be happy for my son’s success,” shared Kamala.
Operation Command of the US Army awards one of the seven sergeants ‘Soldier of the Year’ and Saral was successful in bagging the title, leaving behind the rest.
Saral, at the moment, is with the Special Forces Command (Airborne) in the US Army and he is also set to participate in the ‘Best Warrior’ Award in October. “Soldier of the Year is the brigade level award but Department of Army Best Warrior is the highest award,” informed Saral over the email.
In September 15, 2009, when Saral got into the Army, it had only been around three years that he had stepped in America for his education.
A graduate from Bellevue University in Nebraska in Bachelors in Computer Information Science Networking, he shocked his friends and family when he chose to enter the Army.
It’s not unusual for Nepalis to enter the British or Indian Army but very few make it in the US Army. However, Saral’s father, Ramesh Kumar Shrestha, Professor of Political Science at Patan Multiple Campus in Lalitpur, is not surprised that his son got in.
“Saral is already a citizen of America now,” shared Ramesh Kumar, adding, “He did go on a Student Visa but he was provided with the citizenship once he was chosen to be in the Army.”
“For America to be powerful, besides Gokhali (Nepali), there is a lot of contribution from people from all around the world,” recollected Ramesh as a student of International Relations.
He said that at a time when the world is turning into a global village because of technology and the people getting more interested in the Western world, it was not surprising that his son chose to be in the US Army.
“A great inspiration for me was my great grandfather, Sundar Kumar Shrestha, who fought during the World War II in Oceana and Nagaland from the British Army side. I heard his stories when I was growing up and I guess that inspired me to some extent,” shared Saral.
Even though the Shrestha family has a background in the Army, Saral’s father and grandfather never joined any forces. His ancestors in Kantipur (now Kathmandu) were in the Army during the Malla period.
When the Gorkha Army attacked Kirtipur, the last king of the Malla period, Jaya Prakash Malla, had asked for help from Saral’s ancestors to fight the Gokhali Army and protect Kirtipur.
After nine generations, Saral has joined the US Army and proved that it runs in his blood to be a fighter and in the army.