An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.













NEWS | May 9, 2024

Turkish native fulfills ambition of joining U.S. Army

By Maj. Alun Thomas 653rd Regional Support Group

The memories are still fresh in the mind of Pvt. Basar Findikli to this day – the sight of U.S. military servicemembers training in his native Turkey, an image stamped indelibly on his young mind.

It began a long-standing goal of his – to join the Army and make a difference.

Almost two decades later Findikli is doing just that, as an Army Reserve Soldier with the 653rd Regional Support Group, where he serves as a motor transport operator.

It’s a long way from his birthplace of Ankara, where Findikli grew up, before moving to Istanbul.

“I was born in Ankara but grew up in Istanbul. Both my parents worked for the government. My mother worked for the Turkish Army,” Findikli said. “When I was a kid, I went to work with her one day (at the Multinational Joint Warfare Center) and I saw U.S. Army Soldiers training. It made an impression on me, and I hoped one day to join.”

Findikli knew then his future lay elsewhere, dreaming of a life abroad.

“I grew up watching American movies and learned some English through those. I liked living in Turkey, but I always had a feeling that I didn’t have a future there. I always felt like I was meant to come to America,” he said.

Findikli eventually did that, moving to the U.S. at the age of 19 as a foreign exchange student. During the summers he worked jobs, including as a lifeguard in Virigina.

Eventually, Findikli had to decide where he wanted to be. There was only one choice.

“I went back to Turkey after that, but eventually I decided to come back to the U.S.,” Findikli said. “I went to ASA (Associate in Science and Arts) College in New York City. I finished my school and decided to stay here.”

After finishing his degree Findikli married and moved with his wife to Mesa. After finally obtaining his Green Card, he made the decision to join the Army.

“I always wanted to be a Soldier, it’s something I dreamed of. In Turkey it’s mandatory to do military service, so I would’ve done it if I went back to live there,” he explained. “I wanted to do it on my own terms, so I joined here instead.”

Findikli went his local recruiting station in Mesa and started the process, overcoming an initial stumbling block.

“I joined the Army in May of last year (2023) … I went to Mesa Recruiting Station and asked what I had to do to join,” Findikli said. “At first, I failed the ASVAB (Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery). My recruiter worked with me and eventually I passed. I took the job of motor transport operator.”

Findikli completed his Initial Entry Training before joining his unit with the headquarters element of the 653rd RSG.

“I’m a truck driver in my civilian job and doing very well,” Findikli beamed. “I really couldn’t be happier.”