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 Soldiers take citizenship oath before deploying to Iraq

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Date d'inscription : 28/05/2005

15102006
MessageSoldiers take citizenship oath before deploying to Iraq

Soldiers take citizenship oath before deploying to Iraq
Posted on Saturday, October 14, 2006



Source: Houston Chronicle / Associated Press

EL PASO — An international group of U.S. Army troops took an oath to become American citizens just in time for some of them to deploy to Iraq.

Forty soldiers from 20 countries participated in a citizenship ceremony Thursday at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss. U.S. District Judge Philip R. Martinez gave the soldiers the oath of allegiance and signed the court order making them U.S. citizens.
"We ask that you bring your traditions and bring your culture so it will continue to enrich us," Martinez said.

Of the 40 soldiers, 27 will take their new citizenship with them to Iraq later this month as members of the 4th Brigade Combat Team.

Maria Ortiz, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, is headed to Iraq as an Army cook. She said she was terrified when she first learned that she would probably be deployed.

"Then I thought, 'If God brought me here, he'll be with me every step of the way. Anything can happen anywhere. This is a chance to do something for my country. I should be brave about it,'" she said.

U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, said the political fight over immigration has been a concern for soldiers who recently became citizens and for soldiers who want to become citizens. He said he talked to some of those soldiers during a recent visit to Iraq and Afghanistan.

"They were serving our country and putting their lives on the line," he said. "They asked me to do everything I can to change the mood in Congress about immigrants. It is a country created with a legacy of immigration, of honoring immigrants and we should remember that."

Ortiz, who sang in a Caribbean band before joining the Army last year, said she loves the American anthem.

"I cry every time it is being played," she said. "It touches my soul, my spirit."
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