88 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines Naturalized in Kandahar, Afghanistan
On Friday, October 1, 2010, during an early morning naturalization ceremony at Kandahar Air Field, 88 men and women from 37 countries - each with a unique, inspiring story - became America's newest citizens.
Those stories include three soldiers born in Vietnam. Lifelong friends, they grew up together in Orange County, Calif., joined the Army, deployed to Iraq and independently filed for citizenship. Neither of the three knew their friends would naturalize in Kandahar until they found each other’s name on the ceremony list.
For another soldier, his citizenship journey ended in Afghanistan five days after his wife - also a solider - became a citizen during a Fort Bliss, Texas naturalization ceremony. From Afghanistan to Iraq and Korea to Honduras, USCIS employees volunteer to naturalize eligible members of the military where they serve. In a rare twist, the Kandahar ceremony included new citizens from all four branches of the military - each serving their adopted country in Afghanistan. To a person, the three member USCIS team in Kandahar was happy to "rough it" in the field for a few days in order to naturalize American service members serving in harm's way, defending rights and freedoms they had yet to secure for themselves and their families.