Soldiers become U.S. citizens during Independence Day ceremony in Afghanistan
July 5, 2011
KABUL, Afghanistan, July 5, 2011 -- On a day marking the 235th birthday of the United States, five Soldiers from the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Task Force Falcon, took the Oath of Naturalization, becoming some of the nation’s newest citizens during a ceremony July 4, 2011.
“You are representative of the values and diversity that make our country stronger,” said U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry as he addressed 48 servicemembers from 25 countries. “The great patriots who founded our nation have a lot in common with you. Like them, you’ve fought to keep America safe, and you’ve served with distinction.”
The TF Falcon Soldiers who became U.S. citizens during the Independence Day naturalization ceremony included:
Pfc. Felipe Andrade, a pathfinder with Company F, TF Knighthawk, 10th CAB, originally from Brazil.
Pfc. Robert Holm, an automated logistics specialist with Company E, TF Tigershark, 10th CAB, originally from Jamaica.
Pfc. Zeiko Ifill, an automated logistics specialist with Company E, TF Tigershark, 10th CAB, originally from Barbados.
Spc. Tod Lanki, a human resources specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, TF Knighthawk, 10th CAB, originally from the Marshall Islands.
Spc. Jeridine Stewart, a communications specialist with Headquarters Support Company, TF Mountain Eagle, 10th CAB, originally from Palau.
Andrade said he lived in the U.S. for 12 years, and although over that time he has come to feel like an American, he now can truly call himself one.
“There’s no greater feeling than to be called an American,” he said with a smile.
For Stewart, who has served in the U.S. Army for seven years, the Fourth of July reminds her the U.S. is a nation of immigrants who’ve come from all over the world.
“I believe the U.S. is a melting pot of people of all races, all of who share the same freedoms,” she said. “Now, I get to be a part of it.”
Eikenberry, who will leave Afghanistan this summer, told the new citizens he is proud to call them American patriots.
“I want to thank each of you personally,” Eikenberry said. “You are the real U.S. ambassadors here in Afghanistan.”