Black History Month — Powerful Stories of Amazing People
This Black History Month we celebrate black service personnel throughout history and to this day.
Follow along as we share the stories of some incredible people and their contributions to the UK’s Armed Forces.
Leading Logistician Olusoji Fasuba
Olusoji Fasuba is a Nigerian sprinter who specialises in the 100 metres. He is also a Leading Logistician in the Royal Navy. His shipmates call him ‘Flash.’
Olusoji was born in Nigeria in 1984. His mother was a runner in her youth and his father was in the Nigerian Navy. Some might say that his destiny was preordained.
His mother first noticed his talent as he ran around at kindergarten. By the time he reached primary school he was being asked to race for secondary schools. Although he nurtured a desire to follow his father into the Navy he decided to see how far, and fast, he could go as a full time athlete.
Bronze medal in the 4x100m relay at the 2004 Athens Olympics, silver medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, indoor world champion over 60m in 2008 and an African 100m record of 9.85 seconds all followed. However, he is most proud of his three consecutive African Championships in Athletics 100m titles from 2004–2008.
While living and training in Portugal he was visited by some old team mates who had joined the British Army. They tried to talk him into joining as well. Until then, Olusoji had been unaware that Commonwealth citizens could join the UK forces, but at that point his running career was going well and he dismissed the idea. A few years later, while in Germany, he realised that his times were beginning to drop. Keen to provide some stability to his family and remembering the conversation with his old teammates, he phoned a UK Armed Forces careers office, booked an appointment, and flew to the UK. Not to join the Army, but to follow his childhood dream and join the Navy. Remembering that day he said:
“When I arrived they were surprised to see me. They didn’t think that I would actually turn up!”
Olusoji joined the Royal Navy in April 2011 as a Logistician. He has since deployed to the Mediterranean and the Middle East in HMS Bulwark, an assault ship which delivers the Royal Marines ashore by air and by sea, as part of what is now the Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime), working with many different nations, including the US, France, Portugal and Albania. Having been promoted to Leading Logistician, he is now a member of the ship’s company of HMS Somerset, a Type 23 frigate. When asked what he likes best about his new life he said:
“I love the opportunities that you get in the Royal Navy — lots of sports, education and diversity. Although training for the 100m onboard a frigate is a challenge!”
You can learn more about life in the Royal Navy here.