By Sgt. 1st Class Michael Hagburg, 116th Public Affairs DetachmentJune 8, 2010
Staff Sgt. Vasile Insuratelu once served as armor officer in the Romanian Army. Now, he's chief of the military pay office for U.S. Soldiers at Camp Bondsteel.
Insuratelu was born in Romania and lived there 34 years before he decided to immigrate to the United States.
"I wanted another life for my daughters," he said. "I am sure in the United States they will have a lot of opportunities and a better future."
Insuratelu lives in Surprise, Ariz., with his wife and two daughters, ages 9 and 11. He works for the Arizona National Guard as a budget analyst. He joined the Guard in 2004, soon after arriving in Arizona. He started his military training at the Defense Language Institute, where he learned English, and continued on to basic training and advanced individual training.
"After I got back, I had a few months," he said. "Then in August 2006, I got mobilized and I went to Iraq for 16 months."
Before he deployed, Insuratelu became a U.S. citizen.
"Because I was in the military for more than one year I did not have to wait for my citizenship," he said. "I became a citizen and my daughters being under 18-years-old became citizens, too."
His wife had to wait until she had lived in the U.S. for five years before she could apply for citizenship.
"It was a big deal for me and my daughters. My wife was upset; she didn't like it," he said. "Last year she became a citizen and now we have no problems."
Even though he was trained as a finance specialist, Insuratelu did security forces work on his deployment to Iraq.
"It was not an easy mission," he said. "We got 50 Purple Hearts in that unit. It was a very hard and complex mission."
Insuratelu said his current job as the chief of the military pay office at Camp Bondsteel is challenging but enjoyable.
"I am proud to be with the 'War Pigs' of Arizona's 160th Finance Detachment. We are taking care of more than 1,300 people on Camp Bondsteel," he said. "The job is not easy but it's not so dangerous like the other deployment. I like it. I get a lot of satisfaction watching my subordinates learning more about finance and making the customers happy."
Insuratelu and his wife got their start in Arizona by doing personal care work for the elderly. They now own an assisted living business that his wife manages.
"With me away, everything is very hard for her taking care of our daughters and also taking care of the business," he said. "But we have to make the sacrifice."
Aside from his immediate family, most of Insuratelu's relatives still live in Romania, including his parents and his brother. He plans to travel to Romania to see them while on leave this month.
"I'm pretty sure those 12 days will pass pretty fast," he said. "I'm just curious about what's changed in those years since I left Romania. I have heard that things have changed a lot."