Garrison hosts Naturalization ceremony at ACS
13 community members recite the oath to become an American citizen during a naturalization ceremony on Tuesday, August 24 at U.S. Army Garrison Italy. (Photo Credit: Stefanie Mosley) VIEW ORIGINAL

VICENZA, Italy- Flags from around the globe hung from the ceiling and decorated the tables as 13 members of the Vicenza military community raised their right hand and took an oath to become naturalized American citizens during a naturalization ceremony on Tuesday, August 24 at U.S. Army Garrison Italy.

After dreaming of this moment, it was finally a reality for Spc. Kelvin Rachuonyo, assigned to Bravo Co., 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. Originally from Kenya, Rachuonyo followed his family to America in 2019.

He later joined the United States Army in 2020 and moved to Italy shortly after. “Citizenship to me is being able to sacrifice for your country,” said Rachuonyo.

Garrison hosts Naturalization ceremony at ACS
Spc. Kelvin Rachuonyo, assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade, 1-503rd Bravo Company, raised his right hand and honorably recited the oath to become an American citizen during a naturalization ceremony on Tuesday, August 24 at U.S. Army Garrison Italy. (Photo Credit: Stefanie Mosley) VIEW ORIGINAL

“Basically, do what your country requires for you and be there when your country needs you,” said Rachuonyo who takes pride in being not only an American Citizen, but a Soldier as well.

Soldiers, family members, and Department of the Army Civilians were among the 13 community members gaining their citizenship. For Zoe Dendy, from Italy, and a new spouse married to a Soldier in the 173rd Airborne Brigade, getting her citizenship means something totally different.

Garrison hosts Naturalization ceremony at ACS
Zoe Dendy, a spouse of a Soldier in the 173rd Airborne Brigade, looks over her newfound citizenship documentation during a naturalization ceremony on Tuesday, August 24 at U.S. Army Garrison Italy. (Photo Credit: Stefanie Mosley) VIEW ORIGINAL

“This is important to me to be closer to my husband’s culture and his family, and to represent a step toward my new life,” said Dendy.

The Army Community Service office on Caserma Ederle hosted the Naturalization ceremony on Tuesday, August 24, and the community members received their citizenship through a virtual teleconference. Eloris James, Immigration Services Officer from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Office, administered the oath and completed the naturalization process for the new American citizens.

Among the 13, there were 10 different countries represented including Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya, Italy, Mexico, Cuba, Canada, the Philippines, South Korea, and Ireland. As tears streamed down some of their faces, James announced to the room, “Congratulations, you are now an American Citizen.”