This wasn't the first time Anthony Mgbemene had raised his right hand and sworn his allegiance to this country, but when he did so Oct. 6 at Boston's Faneuil Hall, that act made him a United States citizen.

Mgbemene already had taken the Oath of Enlistment when he joined the Army on Jan. 25, 2011. After Basic Combat Training at Fort Benning and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Lee, the 35-year-old specialist and native of Nigeria had come to the Natick Soldier Systems Center to serve as a human research volunteer.

"I came from a family of eight siblings, all of whom are in Nigeria," Mgbemene said. "I came to the United States on the 14th day of May, 2008, in search of a better life."

Mgbemene, who has a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Benin, Nigeria, became a permanent U.S. resident in 2009, but that was just the beginning.

"I had so much respect for U.S. troops, even when I was still in Nigeria," Mgbemene said. "I love the United States, especially for fighting terrorism. So I decided to join the Army."

Citizenship was next on Mgbemene's agenda.

"I decided to become a citizen because the respect for law and order and hard work is encouraged in the United States," Mgbemene said.

Reciting the Oath of Allegiance at historic Faneuil Hall meant a great deal to Mgbemene.

"Massachusetts is one of the … original colonies," Mgbemene said. "It's very, very awesome. It has been a long journey from my country to here."

A 95F petroleum supply specialist, Mgbemene was set to leave for Fort Hood on Oct. 11. Then he will deploy to Afghanistan.

Mgbemene has achieved much in a short period of time in the U.S.

"I always set goals for myself," Mgbemene said. "Whenever I'm able to get through one, I set another goal for myself. It helps me to improve myself.

"It's not by my power. It's by the power of God and hard work. There's nothing that is impossible with these two things."