CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Pfc. Elmer Alfonso Alvarado Salinas, of Takoma Park, Md., was one of 251 Soldiers representing 65 countries, sworn-in as American citizens at Al Faw Palace in Baghdad, March 3.

Alvarado, a supply specialist and native of San Miguel, El Salvador came to the U.S. in 1992 with his parents and three siblings.

"My dad had always showed me that working hard will get you somewhere in life and even though he has passed, I always have everything he ... showed me," he said attributing his values to his father.

Qualifying under Executive Order 13269, an expedited Naturalization for aliens and noncitizen nationals serving in an active duty status during the War on Terrorism, Alvarado took advantage of this opportunity to become a U.S. citizen and said one day, to work for the U.S. Border patrol.

"I want to work with the border patrol office to help secure this great nation and ensure that the same opportunities are afforded to others who chooses this path to citizenship."

As a Soldier, becoming a citizen involves showing good moral character within the principles of the Constitution, and favoring the good order and happiness of the United States.

Overall, he said, "I have learned that life gets hard and to have faith in God, that He is the only one that can help me in everything."

Photos and story by 1st Lt. Linnea Davis, 398th CSSB, 10th SBDE public affairs.
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