Fourteen years after he fled his home in Kosovo, Arben Islami, 28, has achieved his dream of becoming a Royal Marine Reservist. He said watching the Marines arrive in Kosovo in 1999, as part of the NATO force to counter Slobodan Milosevic’s Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which controlled the country before the war.
The 28-year-old has joined the Royal Marines as a reservist, passing out as a commando last month.
Marine Islami was granted British citizenship in July 2012. The next day he signed up and joined the 350-year-old Marine Corps.
Marine Islami fled Kosovo shortly after seeing the first NATO troops arrive in 1999
He 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.
‘I wanted to join up and give something back to the country that helped me so much.’
When Marine Islami arrived in the UK he was placed in foster care in Birmingham. There he learned English and went to school.
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