Tuesday, November 13, 2007

US Warriors Become Citizens

Spc. Lina Jergees, a linguist with the 177th Military Police Brigade, receives a U.S. flag from the 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command senior enlisted leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Stacey E. Davis - Photo by Sgt Jasmine Chopra


Spc. Yasser Affifi, a linguist with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, takes the Oath of Allegiance - Photo by Sgt Jasmine Chopra

New citizen-veterans celebrated with Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff at a post ceremony luncheon held at dinning facility one at Logistics Support Area Anaconda, Nov. 11. - Photo by Spc Jennifer Sierra

Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff led 178 service members in the Oath of Allegiance during the Nov. 11 naturalization ceremony held at Logistics Support Area Anaconda. This was Chertoff’s first naturalization ceremony in Iraq. - Photo by Spc Jennifer Sierra

Brig. Gen. Gregory E. Couch, commanding general for the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), addresses the 178 service members who traveled from various locations in theatre here to partake in the largest naturalization ceremony held in Iraq to date. - Spc Jennifer Sierra


Veterans Day - November 11, 2007 - Our Warriors Become Citizens

In the largest naturalization ceremony in Iraq, 178 foreign-born members of our military received their oath of citizenship at LSA Anaconda from Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff.

“I can’t think of people who are more deserving of citizenship then those who are fighting to defend the country even before they are citizens. They understand that freedoms don’t come free and they are willing to make sacrifices even before they reap the benefits of citizenship,” said Chertoff.

Emilio T. González, director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, himself an Army veteran, presented each recent citizen with a certificate of naturalization. Brig. Gen. Gregory E. Couch, 316th ESC Commanding General, congratulated each new American veteran-citizen.

Naturalized service members also received a U.S. flag from the 316th ESC senior enlisted leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Stacey E. Davis.

According to USCIS, nearly 40,000 troops are not American citizens. Many foreign-born men and women have pledged commitment to the U.S. Constitution by serving in the military and are availing themselves of a July 2002 executive order making members of the Armed Forces immediately eligible to apply for citizenship. Approximately 4,000 service members have earned U.S. citizenship while serving abroad since 2004.

These men and women have taken the oath to protect and defend us long before they were entitled to the rights of citizenship. I dare say that they have a greater understanding of the value of the freedoms we take for granted and few of us have fought for. I am proud to have them as my fellow citizens. God Speed to all.

4 comments:

Cajun Tiger said...

We had one here on Victory as well, but unfortunately I wasn't able to make it this time. I went to the one on the 4th of July and it was a very moving and remarkable experience that I'll never forget!

Sarge Charlie said...

What a great day. I posted a video this morning, I think you will like it.

Flag Gazer said...

Cajun tiger - I heard there was one in Afghanistan, too... I can only imagine how amazing it would be to be there.


Sarge - headed over - glad you are home!

Buck Pennington said...

I am proud to have them as my fellow citizens. God Speed to all.

Redundant, as ever, but ME TOO! I simply never get tired of these stories.