368th Seaport Operation Company Soldier Becomes US Citizen
September 10, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION ADDER, Iraq - Pfc. Lisandro Lantigua, a cargo specialist with the 368th Seaport Operation Company, from Buena Vista, Calif., became a United States Citizen at a ceremony Aug. 5th at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
Lantigua was scheduled for a citizenship interview in May 2009, but was unable to attend when his unit deployed to Contingency Operating Location Adder, Iraq. Lantigua contacted the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to discuss the issue and arrange a new date.
He had the full support of his unit.
Sgt. Nicole Almonte, the 368th SOC orderly room noncommissioned officer in charge and a native of Kissimmee, Fla., ensured that Lantigua was informed and up-to-date on paperwork so there would be no difficulties in obtaining his goal.
Lantigua received an email in June 2008 from USCIS, which stated he could complete the interview and ceremony July 4. However, poor weather conditions prevented him from attending.
Lantigua's journey to citizenship started at the age of eight, when he and his mother, Mercedes L. Myers, moved from the Dominican Republic to California. Myers is a permanent resident, still attempting U.S. citizenship.
Lantigua graduated from Buena Vista High School in 2007, and in 2008 he joined the U.S. Army in Los Angeles. He started the process to become a citizen while participating in the Home-town Recruiting Program in California that same year.
Lantigua's efforts were finally rewarded when he took the United States' oath of allegiance at Camp Arifjan.
"Waiting to get my citizenship has been a long journey," said Lantigua, "but it has been well worth the wait. I will have better job opportunities now."
As a citizen, Lantigua will be able to apply for Warrant Officer Candidate School as he is now able to obtain the necessary security clearance. He is also considering becoming a police officer or a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent.