Division West NCO becomes U.S. citizen
November 20, 2012
FORT HOOD, Texas -- Most Americans put little thought into becoming a United States citizen, mostly, because the majority of the population is born one.
But after waiting four years since applying for his citizenship, one Division West noncommissioned officer can count himself among the multitude of other U.S. citizens.
Staff Sgt. Pantaleon Montes, an infantry Soldier with the 2-393rd Infantry Battalion, 120th Infantry Brigade, became a U.S. citizen in a naturalization ceremony at III Corps Headquarters Nov. 16.
"It feels like I'm a new person," Montes said. "It is pretty awesome."
Montes was one of 10 Fort Hood Soldiers to gain their U.S. citizenship during the first naturalization ceremony on Fort Hood in the past three years.
Montes, a Mexican native, has served in the U.S. Army for the past 11 years and has been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq.
All the Soldiers are veterans of combat during their current terms of service. The new citizens were born in countries from all over the world including Fiji, Cuba, Italy, Kenya and Micronesia.
"It is a great thing that these Soldiers served and weren't fully U.S. citizens," said Command Sgt. Maj. Edward Johnson, 120th Infantry Brigade command sergeant major. "The song during the ceremony said 'I'm proud to be an American' and these Soldiers proved just that."
A host of Soldiers, Family members and civilians witnessed the Soldiers taking the oath of allegiance to the United States.
"They have done more than most citizens will ever do," said Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell, III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general.
The ceremony included a congratulations video from President Barack Obama and a music video of the song, "God Bless the USA."
Special guests included officials from the San Antonio branch of the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Service.
The day's events concluded with all of the newly naturalized American citizens receiving a certificate presented by Campbell.
"I've been here for as long as I can remember and it is home," Montes said. "I love this country."