434th Field Artillery Brigade held a naturalization ceremony for Pvt Tang Pham, who was the first to complete the streamlined program setup by brigade to help Trainees complete naturalization in Basic Combat Training (BCT). Foxtrot Battery, 1st Battalion 31st Field Artillery was the first battery to implement the program.
“With this being our first cycle where the new process was implemented, there were some kinks that we had to work out, but Foxtrot BTRY was able to complete the mission for one individual and get the others to where they only had to complete their interviews,” said 1st Lt. Edriece Patterson, the officer in charge of the naturalization process for the battery.
The brigade expedited the process which starts on day one of reception where the in-processing personnel asks the Trainee if they want to complete the naturalization process. From there the trainee fills out a form for the brigade commander signature and then sets up the online profile. Once in the training battery, the officer in charge of the process will complete the rest of the application process.
“We take them to get their fingerprints done and then to an area to do their citizenship interview and citizenship test. We try to make sure they take time on Sundays to study for the test. After they have passed the test and interview, we coordinate with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to perform the ceremony of signing their citizenship paperwork,” said Capt. Alexander Crosby the operations officer for the Battalion.
The brigade has been working closely with the USCIS office in Oklahoma City to make the program a success.
“Our relationship with USCIS has been good. The director, Mr. Pollen, maintains routine communications with us. They come for in progress reviews, they are available to answer any questions and keep all the executive officers updated,” said Crosby.
Pham has always wanted to be a legacy entrant into the United States Army.
“I wanted to be able to better myself and I wanted to be like my grandpa who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War,” said Pham.
Pham came over to the U.S in August of 2022. He received his green card two weeks later. As soon as he received the card, he went to the recruiting office to sign up and he was able to get a training date 7 months later.
“I learned about the naturalization program from my recruiter, but it was not my purpose to come here for that. I wanted to be like my grandpa, and I wanted to serve the country,” said Pham.
Pham said for him the process was a little easier than some because he didn’t have to gather a lot of paperwork since he was not in the country for a long time. Everything was already laid out for him to do and he just had to follow the steps.
Not only did Pham become a citizen of the United States today, but he also graduated from BCT which allowed his parents to attend both ceremonies in person.
“I didn’t think that they were going to be here with me because there was not much time to see them or to talk to them because of BCT rules. It really surprised me, so I’m happy they were able to witness me becoming a U.S. citizen.
Pham is a 92 Alpha which is an Automated Logistics Specialist. He will be responsible for maintaining equipment records and parts. He wants to go to college while in the Army for pharmacology and hopefully change his job to pharmacy once completed. He would like to be stationed around the world to learn different languages and cultures.