Yahya Jammeh, of the Jola ethnic group, was born on 25 May 1965 in Kanilai, a village in the Foni Kansala district of the western division of The Gambia. In 1983, he completed his education at the Gambia High School and joined the National Gendarmerie. He received an officer's commission in 1989 and served in the Presidential Guards in 1989 and 1990. Jammeh entered the Gambia National Army with the rank of lieutenant in 1992. He received four months of military police officer's training at Fort McClellan, Alabama, in 1993–94. During that time, he was appointed an honorary citizen of the state of Georgia and honorary lieutenant colonel in the Alabama state militia. He is married to Tali Faal-Jammeh.