News: Yukon Soldiers become American Citizens
Story by Pfc. Andrya Hill
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Nine Task Force Yukon Soldiers became United States citizens in a mass naturalization ceremony at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Nov. 12.
The 134 military members took an Oath of Allegiance and received certificates after obtaining their citizenship through service in the armed forces.
"You've chosen to put on the uniform of the United States armed forces, to swear and uphold its constitution, and you've come here to Afghanistan to defend freedom," U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, said to the new citizens during the ceremony. "You've done these things and made many sacrifices even before you've become American citizens. For this demonstration of your commitment and your character, you have my highest thanks and gratitude."
Eikenberry reminded the service members of the proud American legacy that they will contribute to by becoming citizens.
"You are continuing that legacy today. A legacy that makes the United States a beacon of freedom and opportunity around the world," he explained.
Commanding general for Combined Joint Task Force — 82, Maj. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, spoke of heroism, and applauded the service members for their dedication.
"Heroes are not bound by place of birth, economic standing, race or religion. Heroes are those who have donned a uniform and answered the call of duty, to serve selflessly and with courage, who understand the values they fight for," he said. "You are all heroes in my eyes."
Despite the unusual location for a naturalization ceremony, in Afghanistan, the new citizens were surrounded by fellow Americans who proudly stood and applauded their commitment at the completion of the ceremony.
"We are honored to welcome you today as fellow citizens, and fine Americans," Eikenberry concluded. "Congratulations!"
Claiming their new citizenship in America from the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division and Task Force Yukon were:
Spc. Daniel Ruiz-Reyes, Company A, 1-501st Infantry Regiment
Pfc. Eduardo Urrego, Company A, 1-501st Infantry Regiment
Spc. Roland DeLaVega, Company A, 1-501st Infantry Regiment
Spc. Alexander Fisher, Company C, 3-509th Infantry Regiment
Spc Joel Martinez, Provincial Reconstruction Team Paktika
Spc. Hiroshi Ono, Headquarters Company, 725th Brigade Support Battalion
Spc. Walter Lomeli Gomez, Company B, 725th Brigade Support Battalion
Pfc. Molley Kromah, Company A, 725th Brigade Support Battalion
Cpl. Cylee Yagao, Provincial Reconstruction Team Khost