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Troops in Afghanistan Take Citizenship Oath
American Forces Press Service ^ | Tech. Sgt. Kevin Wallace, USAF

Posted on 05/27/2008 4:13:40 PM PDT by SandRat

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, May 27, 2008 – The poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty beckons “Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free,” but on this Memorial Day, quite the opposite was true, as 44 members of the U.S. military marched forward to become America’s newest citizens.

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Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff congratulates a soldier May 26, 2008, on his new U.S. citizenship at a ceremony on Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. Forty-four soldiers and Marines became citizens at a naturalization ceremony. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Scott Davis
  

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In the presence of the Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, U.S. Immigration Service Acting Director Jonathan Scharfen and Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey J. Schloesser, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 101, 44 servicemembers from 21 countries swore oaths of allegiance and became U.S. citizens.

“On behalf of President Bush and a grateful nation, I say, ‘Welcome,’” Chertoff said to the new American citizens.

The ceremony brought the number of military men and women who have gained citizenship while deployed to Afghanistan since beginning the war on terror to 312, said Stacy K. Strong, deputy district director of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. According to a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service fact sheet, more than 39,000 servicemembers have become U.S. citizens since the beginning of the war.

“There is no honor greater than presiding over an oath ceremony, and there is no better place to do it than here,” Chertoff said. “You have all earned your citizenship through your service. Starting today, America is as much your country as it is mine.”

Under an executive order, legal permanent residents actively serving in the U.S. military and honorably discharged legal permanent residents who were on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, are eligible to apply for naturalization.

“This feels really great -- closure to the ‘history’ chapter in my life and the beginning of my future,” said Army Pvt. Mark Paguio, a Philippine native who led the other servicemembers in their recital of the Pledge of Allegiance. “Becoming a U.S. citizen has opened many doors,” he said.

For the 44 servicemembers who are serving in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom or the International Security Assistance Force, the oath was an affirmation of what they have worked so hard to secure.

“This day means everything to me,” said Marine Lance Cpl. Artem Starovoyt, a Ukraine native who now resides in Philadelphia. “I have been out on the front lines doing what I can for my nation, and now I can officially call America home.”

The servicemembers who took the citizenship oath are from Jamaica, Colombia, the Philippines, Peru, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Australia, Poland, Ghana, Iran, Mexico, El Salvador, Haiti, Sierra Leone, Trinidad and Tobago, Germany, Cuba, Nigeria, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Ukraine.

(Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kevin Wallace serves with Combined Joint Task Force 101 Public Affairs.)
Biographies:
Michael Chertoff

Related Sites:
Combined Joint Task Force 101
NATO International Security Assistance Force

Click photo for screen-resolution image Soldiers and Marines from 21 countries swear allegiance to the United States as new citizens at a naturalization ceremony on Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, May 26, 2008. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Christina Sinders  
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Click photo for screen-resolution image Soldiers and Marines from 21 countries swear allegiance to the United States as new citizens at a naturalization ceremony on Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, May 26, 2008. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Christina Sinders  
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Click photo for screen-resolution image Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff; Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, Combined Joint Task Force 101 commander; and Army Command Sgt. Maj. Vincent Camacho, Combined Joint Task Force 101 command sergeant major, stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony at Bagram Air Bas, Afghanistan, May 26, 2008. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Scott Davis  
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TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; citizens; frwn; naturalization

1 posted on 05/27/2008 4:13:40 PM PDT by SandRat
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To: 91B; HiJinx; Spiff; MJY1288; xzins; Calpernia; clintonh8r; TEXOKIE; windchime; freekitty; ...
FR WAR NEWS!
If you would like to be added to / removed from FRWN,
please FReepmail Sandrat.

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2 posted on 05/27/2008 4:14:10 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: SandRat
The servicemembers who took the citizenship oath are from Jamaica, Colombia, the Philippines, Peru, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Australia, Poland, Ghana, Iran, Mexico, El Salvador, Haiti, Sierra Leone, Trinidad and Tobago, Germany, Cuba, Nigeria, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Ukraine.

WOW!

3 posted on 05/27/2008 4:25:21 PM PDT by Rummyfan (Iraq: it's not about Iraq anymore, it's about the USA!)
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To: SandRat

I like the idea of “service for citizenship”, in a Heinlein sort of way, except for aliens to earn their citizenship by performing military service for the United States.

There are a lot of men around the world who would do anything to join the US military, because they see it as the ultimate route for honor, with good pay. Men who come from warrior traditions, who are also educated. The few who make it through our tight filter are generally of very good quality. We should encourage more of them.

Importantly, many who would like to serve in our military do not want to become US citizens, but I see a possibility for them as well: the creation of an off shore American Foreign Legion.

Still under the command of US officers, they would perform tasks as light infantry that are either too expensive, or too politically difficult for us to commit our own forces to do, yet would be to the advantage of the US to have done.

Most likely stationed on a Caribbean island, they would replace our forces in extended guard duties, like Kosovo, minor peacekeeping duties—even under the command of the UN—something our soldiers are loathe to do, and even in a peacekeeping role to places like Somalia and Darfur, that are just plain grotesque.

Such an AFL would cost a fraction of a regular army unit, and would probably work for a contractor agency like Blackwater Security. This would take them out of the realm of politics to a great extent, and insulate them from perfidious Democrat exploitation. If the US wanted to use them, it would have to contract for that use, not just deploy them at whim.


4 posted on 05/27/2008 4:29:32 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: SandRat

Will be headlined on ABC, etc. Right?

THESE are the immigrants we want!


5 posted on 05/27/2008 4:30:06 PM PDT by dynachrome ("Socialism is the feudalism of the future.")
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