CAMP CASEY, South Korea--Several Soldiers now wear the uniform of their nation and some Family members now claim U.S. citizenship.
Three Soldiers from 2nd Infantry Division and three Family members became U.S. citizens at a Naturalization Ceremony on Sept. 24 in the Camp Casey Theater.
During the ceremony the Soldiers and Family members took the Oath of Allegiance lead by Francis Leigh, acting field office director from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. Each recited the Pledge of Allegiance, presented a certificate of citizenship, watched a video message from President Barack Obama and joined in singing "God Bless America."
Jan. 28, 2008, former President George W. Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows certain eligible spouses of members of the U.S. Armed Forces to naturalize abroad without traveling to the United States for any part of the naturalization process.
"I'm so glad to be an American citizen now," said Peach Clark, a Philippines native and spouse of Sgt. Emmett Clark, an Oklahoma native from Company E, 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team. "The process took about three months with mostly processing paperwork. The process and testing was hard to me, but my husband and friends helped me through it."
The Clark couple has been married for eight years. Sgt. Clark will be retiring soon from the Army; so this was a factor for Mrs. Clark in becoming a U.S. citizen.
"I'm very proud that my wife became a citizen today," said Sgt. Clark. "I gave my wife flowers today in celebration of her hard work and this important day to our family."
Before the new U.S. citizens took the Oath of Allegiance, Maj. Gen. Thomas Vandal, 2nd Infantry Division commanding general, gave the keynote speech and presented the certificates of U.S. citizenship.
"As you take the oath today, it is particularly noteworthy that each of you has already sacrificed to help sustain our democracy; to help earn the freedom that your fellow American citizens enjoy," said Vandal. "I would also remind each of us not to forget our brethren who have served before us and made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and your opportunities today."
When a non-U.S. citizen joins the military this expedites the process of becoming a U.S. citizen from a few years to a few months.
"In order to join the military as a non-U.S. citizen, the person must become a legal permanent resident of the United States. Second, for those educated outside the U.S., they must show proof of their education," said Leigh,. "Finally, they must demonstrate a sufficient understanding of English to meet entrance requirements."
For more information on becoming a U.S. citizen, Soldiers can come to the Camp Casey Legal Services Office, they can go to the Army Community Services (ACS) office, they can contact U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services at the Embassy in Seoul, or they can go online to USCIS's website www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=d84d6811264a3210VgnVCM100000b92ca60aRCRDf946d3bbe0dcb3b617d6ec4e6dc5c3e0bef8ac7e6e26cd6c17b24fee05204b5aabcbeebab464683dbe81aa05a99cde52ce25216b7531b1d94f0036dc3425ce1dvgnextchannel=d84d6811264a3210VgnVCM100000b92ca60aRCRD.