Foreign-Born Servicemembers Earn Citizenship In Bagram Air Field Naturalization Ceremony

Thirty-one servicemembers deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom recently became U.S. citizens in a naturalization ceremony at Bagram Air Field, according to Sgt. Dave Overson’s recent article for Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System.

Led by Elvis Quiles, the USCIS overseas adjudications officer for Bangkok, the individuals took the Oath of Allegiance and swore to “renounce and abjure their allegiance to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty and swear to support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” according to the source.

These new citizens have already demonstrated their commitment to the United States by joining the armed forces. Although they came from 19 different countries including Norway, Japan, Moldova, Kenya, Laos and Jamaica, their overwhelming feeling of patriotism fueled a common desire to become U.S. citizens. After completing their tours of active duty, these individuals will be able to vote in U.S. elections, find jobs that require security clearance and take advantage of other opportunities that come with citizenship status, the source said.

“Today is a great recognition, these are always very impressive ceremonies to welcome new citizens into the family of America,” James Cunningham, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, said in the ceremony. “To see their desire to become U.S. citizens is always a wonderful thing. The fact that they joined up to serve my country, which will now become their country, before they were citizens is a demonstration of their commitment to the United States and their desire to be part of the American family.”

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