News: Marine becomes US citizen during deployment to Afghanistan
Story by Lance Cpl. Bruno Bego
CAMP DWYER, Afghanistan – The Continental Congress adopted a statement July 4, 1776, which declared the thirteen colonies independent states and liberated the people from the British Empire. Today, we recognize this day as Independence Day.
Americans celebrate this special day in various ways. Whether it’s a parade, fireworks, a barbeque or a concert, they find a way to show their patriotism for their country.
Lance Cpl. German Torres Changanaqui, an amphibious vehicle crewman with Combat Logistics Battalion 7, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), celebrated Independence Day this year by becoming a US citizen.
Torres, who is 21 years old and originally from Lima, Peru, flew to Kabul, Afghanistan, for a naturalization ceremony July 4 at Camp Phoenix.
“I have been living in the United States for 15 years now,” Torres said. “My mother brought me along with my sisters and brothers to give us a better life.”
Looking for better opportunities, thousands of immigrants view living in the United States as a chance to achieve their goals in life.
“My mother was looking to give us a better education and better living standards,” Torres explained. “We were pretty much looking for the ‘American dream.’”
Years passed and Torres graduated high school. At the age of 18, and soon after graduating, he decided to join the Marine Corps.
“I wanted travel the world, see new things and meet new people,” he said. “I wanted to meet new cultures and see new places I’ve never seen before.
“I knew I was going to be able to do all of those things in the Marine Corps,” he said. “I also joined because the Marines are the best and wanted to be one of them.”
Nearly three years after enlisting, Torres found himself, once again, raising his right hand. This time it was to become a citizen, swearing an Oath of Allegiance to a country he already vowed to protect as a Marine.
“I think I made a good decision,” he said. “I love this country…I want to have a good job, a nice house and one day a family I can sustain on my own.”
According to Torres, the Marine Corps has fulfilled its promises of fun and adventure. He has served in Okinawa, Japan, and is currently deployed to Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan, in support of International Security Assistance Force operations.
“I think the way I have been trained in the Marines will help me carry myself more responsibly and disciplined in the future,” he said. “I have learned a lot from my [superiors] and also from all the people around me.
“I know I need to work hard, but at least I know if I really put effort in what I do I will reach my goals,” Torres concluded. “I have good training and great opportunities for my future.”