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Tchicaya Missamou Tchicaya Missamou

Former Child Soldier Turned U.S.Marine to Speak at the SDSU Library

Tchicaya Missamou will discuss his journey and his memoir at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 15.
By Roberta Niederjohn


Bitter. Abused. Angry. Hopeless.

That describes the world of so many of Africa’s child soldiers a world from which very few escape.

But some do escape — like Tchicaya Missamou — and some of them build successful, happy and inspiring lives.

Campus talk

Missamou will discuss his amazing journey and his memoir, "In the Shadow of Freedom: A Heroic Journey to Liberation, Manhood, and America", at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 15, in Room LL430 of the San Diego State University Library.

The presentation, sponsored by the Aztec Parents Fund, the Veterans Center, and the SDSU Library, is free and open to the public.

About Missamou

In 1978, Missamou was born in Brazzaville, Congo, the eighth of 16 children. While still a child, he became a soldier. He spent many years watching his child comrades being plied with drugs and alcohol in order to commit atrocities.

When he was 19, he escaped and used his militia connections to convey jewels, computers, and white diplomats out of the country. He became a rich, but hunted man. His own militia destroyed his house and brutalized his family in front of him. 

With the help of his father and European acquaintances, he made his way to Europe and then to America.

While working at a martial arts studio in California, Missamou met a recruiter for the U.S. Marine Corps. He joined the Marines and served on several military deployments, including Iraq, where he was instrumental in the discovery and release of Private Jessica Lynch in 2003.

Missamou now

Missamou is now a successful businessman who owns and operates a personal training facility in Valencia, Calif. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in education and lives in Saugus with his wife and three children.

Attend the event
For more information regarding the March 15 lecture, please contact Roberta Niederjohn at (619) 594-4991 or email The SDSU Library is located on the SDSU Campus at 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-8050. The library’s Website is