News: American dreams come true
Story by Sgt. Uriah Walker
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Love brought Spc. Nikolaus Stiles, from Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, south to Wisconsin, and later to the Army.
Stiles is assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, currently deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
Approximately 75,000 service members became naturalized citizens between fiscal years 2002 and 2011. Each of those individuals has their own story to tell about how they came to the U.S. and why they made their decision to immigrate.
“I moved down when I was 20,” said Stiles. “I met my wife online and moved down, and we got married. I got my green card and then I enlisted shortly thereafter. I joined the military because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. While I was in Canada the opportunity (to enlist) – it just wasn’t the right time.”
Stiles, married for three years and now two years into his Army career, says the military lifestyle wasn’t part of his plan when he immigrated.
Stiles continued, “(The) military was something that happened after. It was something I hadn’t considered until we had been married for just about a year. I got into it, and I love it.”
His new wife and her entire family fully supported him when he decided to join. Her father was a drill sergeant and a tanker, and both of her brothers are currently serving.
The 23-year-old has been employed to perform a broad spectrum of jobs, ranging from pizza delivery to locksmith services and construction. He calls himself “a jack of all trades.”
Stiles intends to make a career of the Army, but not in his current military occupational specialty as a tank driver. After completing the naturalization ceremony, the final step to gain citizenship, he wants to go back to the classroom and learn to become a psychological operations specialist.
He says, “I’m planning on making the military a career, but even if I get out at 20 years, I’m still going to be young. I’d like to work another job. I’d like to get some expertise in an area that will transfer over to a civilian field. As much fun as tanking is, there’s not much demand for it as a civilian.”