USCIS Welcomes 157 New U.S. Citizens during Ceremony in Iraq
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) joined U.S. service men and women to celebrate Veterans Day by naturalizing 157 Soldiers and Marines from 60 different countries during a ceremony on Nov. 11, 2009, here in al Faw Palace.
Presiding during the ceremony was USCIS Rome Deputy District Director Lori Pietropaoli, who thanked the service men and women for their service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Pietropaoli highlighted the dedicated service of all the military, especially that of the new citizens, "On this Veterans Day, we honor our own heritage as a nation as we honor these 157 new citizens."
Among the new citizens was a Soldier serving his third tour of duty in Iraq. During his first deployment to Iraq in 2003, he assisted with the liberation of the area that is now Camp Victory. Six years later, he celebrated as a citizen of the United States in that same area.
Lt. Gen. Charles Jacoby, commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq, delivered the keynote address. Also attending the ceremony were Gen. Raymond Odierno, commander of Multi-National Forces-Iraq and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill.
One of the strengths of the partnership with the U.S. armed forces is the commitment of USCIS officers who bring immigration services to members of the military wherever they serve. Since October 2004, when USCIS hosted the first naturalization ceremony overseas since the Korean War, 3,052 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines have become U.S. citizens while deployed in Iraq.
- USCIS Welcomes 157 New U.S. Citizens during Ceremony in Iraq (1KB PDF)
- U.S. Marine Pfc. Sam Stanford Watts (1KB JPG)
U.S. Marine Pfc. Sam Stanford Watts repeats the oath of allegiance to the United States becoming a U.S. citizen Nov. 11. The naturalization ceremony was held at Camp Victory's Al Faw Palace in Baghdad, Iraq.
- Service members recite the Oaths of Allegiance (1KB JPG)
Service members recite the Oaths of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony, Nov. 11 at Camp Victory's al-Faw Palace, in Iraq.
- Service members stand at attention (1KB JPG)
Service members stand at attention, waiting to recite the Oaths of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony, Nov. 11 at Camp Victory's al-Faw Palace, in Iraq.
- Signing an American flag (1KB JPG)
Signing an American flag for a child diagnosed with leukemia back home in Texas was the first thing Spc. Mauricio Zumba, of Spokane, Wash., did as a newly declared US citizen. More than 150 U.S. Service Members took the Oath of Naturalization at al-Faw Palace, here, on Camp Victory, Nov. 11.