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Homeland Security Secretary Welcomes New Citizens During Military Naturalization Ceremony in Afghanistan


U.S. service members took the Oath of Allegiance today during a military naturalization ceremony at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. The ceremony commemorated the invaluable commitment these men and women have made to the United States as a grateful nation observes the Memorial Day.

“It is truly a privilege to be in the presence of these brave service members who today became American citizens. These exceptional men and women have proven their dedication to this country by putting their lives on the line to defend our nation’s principles and protect millions of Americans they have never met,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “The individuals gathered here are from diverse backgrounds and originate from countries around the world, but today they belong to one, unified nation strengthened by their individual contributions. On behalf of the President, and an indebted nation, I sincerely thank you for your sacrifice.”

Those honored in today’s ceremony were born in: Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Iran, Jamaica, Mexico, Micronesia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Palau, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Sierra Leone, St. Vincent-Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, and Vietnam.

Joining Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff in welcoming America’s newest citizens were U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Acting Director Jonathan Scharfen. Military officials in attendance included Major General Jeffrey Schloesser, Commander of the 101st Airborne Division and Combined Joint Task Force 101 and Colonel Jonathan Ives, Commander Task Force Cincinnatus.

The department is committed to helping immigrant military service members realize their individual paths to citizenship. The Bagram ceremony is the latest in overseas military naturalization ceremonies hosted by USCIS. Since Sept. 2001, the agency has naturalized more than 39,085 members of the U.S. Armed Forces at locations around the world. Military naturalization ceremonies have taken place in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and in the Pacific aboard the USS Kitty Hawk.


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