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My Journey as a Christian and a Soldier: From Kenya to the Evacuation of Kabul

by Titus Kimani, 2nd Battalion of The Parachute Regiment

My name is Titus Kimani, currently serving with The 2nd Battalion of The Parachute Regiment. I was born and raised in a small village of Kiambu, in Kenya.


My journey to join the military started when I was a very young boy and was inspired by the events that took place in neighbouring Rwanda. I clearly remember back in 1994 watching on the TV, the brutal unforgiving genocide that was taking place. The Hutu and Tutsi were slaughtering each other in the name of political power. At such a young age I couldn’t understand how one human being could be so cruel to a fellow human being, and it is still difficult to comprehend that such events had truly taken place so close to my home country.


I remember seeing the men and women in military clothing (the old dark green DPM kind). They were selflessly risking their own lives in trying to help those who were suffering or vulnerable. I saw these people as soldiers for the side goodness, and I said “Mum, when I grow up, I want to be like one of those men who are wearing those camouflage clothes”.


What I saw in that uniform, was love, selflessness, courage, discipline, respect for others, power, pride, and even a sort of heroic immortality. This inspired me to strive to join the UK Armed Forces, and to become one of these people who put others and above all the weakest and most vulnerable first, without bias over ethnicity, gender or religion.


God intervened in the form of members of my congregation and extended family, who raised funds to support my flight [to join the British Army].

As I grew up, my dream of joining the UK Armed Forces seemed a far-fetched one, and would not have happened were it not by the Grace of God. In order to raise money to get a ticket to the UK, I worked several jobs as hard as I could, saving every possible shilling. No matter how hard I worked it seemed impossible to reach that goal, until God intervened in the form of members of my congregation and extended family, who raised the funds to support my flight.

When I got to Catterick and began training I broke my leg and was almost discharged out of the Army in the very first days! It was a very difficult time, in a foreign land, with home and family on the other side of the world. During that dark period, it felt as though only God was on my side. He did not forsake me and sent members of the ITC Chaplaincy to my aid, which gave me the moral and spiritual support I needed at that time.


I have now served for 13 years. I have been in so many places and met people whom I can genuinely call family. I have learnt and done a lot during this time. As a commonwealth soldier my culture is different from most of the people that I interreact with at work. Being a Catholic in the Armed forces can also be a challenge as many soldiers don’t really practice or believe in God, and some have been hostile and misunderstood the faith.


Being open about my faith has given me opportunities to have interesting conversations about faith with people from a variety of backgrounds.

The best part of the UK Armed Forces as an organization is that it has always given its members the freedom to practice their religion, which is a really great thing. My work supporting the Catholic Military Association means I can help to ensure the healthy acceptance of our faith for others outside of my unit and service. Being open about my faith has given me opportunities to have interesting conversations about faith with people from a variety of backgrounds. My colleagues in 2PARA are aware that I am a God fearing Christian, and they respect that.


I have also had the privileged to have done a few tours over this period. Out of all of them, Afghanistan is the place where I have been deployed to fight, to mentor and to evacuate on three separate operations; these being Op HERRICK 13, Op TORAL 9 and Op PITTING. Back in October 2021, when the Taliban took over power in Afghanistan, the whole country went into a mode of fear and deep uncertainty. This called for the international community to come together with the hope of rescuing those people who were most in need. The UK came up with a Non-combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) known as Op PITTING, where the 2nd and The 3rd Battalions of the Parachute Regiment were called upon to take lead on the task.


The desperation, cruelty, loss and suffering were like nothing else.

This Operation reminded me the words in the book of Exodus where the Lord says to Pharaoh and his administration “let my people go” (Exodus 5:1). When I was there, I saw desperation and suffering of people in a way that none of you would ever want to be part of. The desperation, cruelty, loss and suffering were like nothing else. This experience gave me another reason to appreciate what I do as part of my job: having saved all those men, women, and children, I felt that I have now played a part in achieving what I saw back in Kenya when I was a kid. I have worn a uniform, and put myself in harm’s way, in order to serve the helpless and protect the weakest. My life as a Catholic soldier has been nothing but a blessing to others and to myself.




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