By Staff Sgt. John Gallagher, 4th STB, 1st Cav. Div.March 19, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq - It was just another day for most Soldiers stationed here on the operating base in southern Iraq, but Sgt. Maria Camacho said she will probably never forget March 3.
Camacho and 250 other Soldiers from sixty-five different countries became American Citizens in front of fellow Soldiers and civilians at the Al-Faw Palace on Camp Victory in Baghdad.
"I feel like a true American Soldier now," said the El Cajon, Ca. native of Mexican descent.
By joining the Army, she instantly became eligible for U.S. citizenship four years earlier than those who choose not to serve.
"I was ready to join up anyway, but when I heard that, it strengthened my decision even more."
Camacho and her parents first came to the U.S. when she was six years old. She joined the Army in 2004 and now serves as the supply sergeant for Co. A., 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, also known as the 'Spartan' battalion.
She's currently deployed for the second time in her career, but as Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin, the Multi-National Corps - Iraq Commander, administered the Oath of Citizenship, Camacho said she knew she made the right decision to serve.
"I remember reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during the ceremony and thinking, 'I'm now swearing allegiance to the United States as a citizen,'" added Camacho.
When the Spartan battalion's newest American citizen returns to Ft. Hood, Texas in a few months, she'll be stepping off the plane in a country she grew up in and can now say she's a citizen of.