“My Passion Is Service To Others And The Nation”: An Afghan Immigrant’s Journey To West Point And The Field Artillery

Nargis (Kabiri) Mougey


Nargis (Kabiri) Mougey’s father was a businessman who was involved with international rescue in his home of Afghanistan. During the Soviet occupation, he became a person of interest and fled the country. His pregnant wife and five children fled to Pakistan, where Nargis was born in a refugee camp in 1986. The family initially moved to Queens, New York, but settled in a small town in Minnesota. After her father died, her mother worked and the children all took jobs to help provide for the family. In school, Nargis was a straight A student, and enjoyed playing basketball. When she was 17, she enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard as a 93P Aviation Specialist. Her high school basketball coach encouraged her to apply to West Point. She was accepted into the Prep School and loved her experience there. At West Point, she found several important mentors, including COL Wilson and COL Blackmon. She chose to major in Arabic so she could study Islam in greater depth. Eventually she served as a company First Sergeant and found that to be very rewarding. She played basketball at West Point and remembers a game at Madison Square Garden. During the spring of her Cow (junior) year she was selected for a semester abroad in Jordan, calling it her “best life experience.” In 2008, she traveled to Afghanistan with the Dean and several Department Heads to help set up the Afghan Military Academy, and really enjoyed interacting with the Afghan Cadets. She commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer and was one of five women in a class of 100 lieutenants in her basic course. Her first assignment was to the 82nd Airborne Division, and she was immediately selected to be the Commanding General’s cultural advisor during a deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan. After returning to Ft. Bragg, she became the first woman assigned to lead an M777 platoon. Later she was the first woman to command an Artillery Battery in the 3rd Infantry Division. After earning a Master’s Degree at Texas A&M, she returned to West Point and taught in the Department of Physical Education. Currently she is a USMA admissions officer. In this interview, she talks about her childhood, her experiences at the prep school and at West Point, and her service in the Army. She describes settling in Minnesota and working hard to make ends meet, including relying on welfare. She shares the diversity of her experience at West Point, and the opportunities she has had to travel worldwide. She highlights some of the mentors who helped her along the way. She discusses the Combat Exclusion Policy and how that shaped several of her assignments as opportunities for women in the Army changed. Finally, she reflects on what her service and West Point mean to her.


conflicts Afghanistan War
topics West Point History Women in Service Leadership Teamwork Courage Army Athletics Immigration
interviewer David Siry
date 20 January 2022


name Nargis (Kabiri) Mougey
institution USMA
graduation year 2010
service Field Artillery
unit Minnesota National Guard; 18th Fires BDE, 1st BN, 321st FA, 82nd Airborne Division; 3rd BDE, 82nd Airborne Division, FSO 3rd BN, 7th IN, 3rd Infantry Division; A BTRY, 1st BN, 9th FA, 3rd Infantry Division
specialty Afghan Immigrant / USMAPS/ FA 58 Marketing
service dates 2010