During a ceremony inside the Al-Fal Palace at Camp Victory in Baghdad, a young Soldier of Pakistani descent became the first person in his family to earn his U.S. citizenship, Feb. 15, 2010.

Pvt. Falak Mir Shafi, A Troop, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, was one of 107 Soldiers who took the oath of citizenship that day.

Each Soldier received a coin, certificate, and flag from the United States Forces - Iraq deputy commanding general for operations, Lt. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr.

Shafi was born in Lahore, Pakastan and is the son of Dr. Mir Waseem Gul and Dr. Nuzhat Naheeb Waseem.

When his family moved to the United States from Pakistan in 2002, Shafi came with them and made a new home in Youngstown, Ohio.

Shafi started his application for citizenship in August 2009.

"I really did not expect it to go this quick." he explained. "It was a great ceremony."

Shafi places high importance on not only gaining his U.S. citizenship, but in exercising the responsibilities that come with it.

"I want the right to vote. I want to do my part in helping to build our democracy," he said.

Still, obtaining his status as a U.S. citizen was only a waypoint on his path to realizing a much bigger dream, one of service.

"I wanted combat arms," he said. "I chose cavalry because it is rich in history and tradition."

"I want to become an officer and this is but one step toward reaching that goal, he added. "I want to do my part in the big picture."

With his citizenship secured, Shafi looks forward to the potential the future offers.

"Now I can move on and do what I want to do," he said. "It has opened up a lot of options for me."