Laos native gains US citizenship
September 1, 2009
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - A Soldier whose journey toward citizenship started with fleeing Laos in 1979, became a United States citizen in a ceremony Aug. 6, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
Spc. Vilay Yang was born in Laos shortly before his family fled to Wausau, Wis., to avoid repercussions for assisting U.S. forces in Laos by showing them how to use terrain to their advantage in combat.
He joined the U.S. Army Reserves in 2002 as a chemical operations specialist, then re-classed as a unit supply specialist for his current deployment to Camp Victory, Iraq. He was flown to Camp Arifjant for his naturalization ceremony.
"I remember when he first applied for naturalization," said Capt. Crystal Tate, the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 620th Combat Services Support Battalion commander. "I watched it unfold for him."
Yang said he desired citizenship in order to further his military career and gain additional rights. He has a daughter, and foster parents in Wisconsin who are proud of his newly-acquired citizenship, he said.
"It made me feel happy and relieved to finally get my citizenship after 10 years of effort," he said.