Skip to comments.Troops in Afghanistan Take Citizenship Oath
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 Americas newest 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.)
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.
Will be headlined on ABC, etc. Right?
THESE are the immigrants we want!