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Eight Guardsmen earn citizenship while here

POSTED: November 11, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Photo by Joe Parker Jr./

Col. Lee Henry, commander of the Texas National Guard's 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, presents citizenship papers to one of his soldiers, PV2 Ricardo Ramirez, during a ceremony Saturday on Fort Stewart.

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The United States gained eight new citizens Saturday, citizens who were already wearing their country’s uniform and fighting for it.
Eight soldiers of the Texas National Guard’s 56th “Arrowhead” Brigade — at Fort Stewart for training — completed the requirements for citizenship and were sworn in at a ceremony at Woodruff Theater.
Sgt. Luis Lopez, Sgt. Carlos Rodriguez, Spec. Carlos Barragan, Spec. Manuel Soto, Spec. Antonio Ayala, PFC. Lucero Garcia-Garcia, PFC David Morgan and PV2 Ricardo Ramirez received citizenship certificates.
Fort Stewart and Third Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo and his wife, Ginger, were part of the audience which gave the new citizens two standing ovations.
Bertha Johnson, regional federal official from Atlanta who conducted the actual swearing, said the Fort Stewart event was the first time in recent memory that new citizens had taken the oath outside her Homeland Security office.
She said new citizens were sworn in daily in her office. She said the travel and working on Saturday were, “worth every minute of it. I am proud to be part of this. We want to do everything we can for our soldiers.”
In her speech Johnson told the new citizens, “It is not any easy path you have chosen, to follow those beliefs that have made America what it is today.” She concluded the citizenship oath by saying, “Thank you, my fellow Americans.”
About 3,500 soldiers of the Texas National Guard’s 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, commanded by Col. Lee Henry, are at Fort Stewart training for deployment to Iraq. The Texas brigade was activated Aug. 28 for 400 days and expects to be in Iraq by Thanksgiving and back home to celebrate Halloween next year.
The unit has been to Iraq before and about 60 percent of the soldiers going on this deployment will be making their second trip.
The soldiers of the BCT will be doing base security and patrols among other duties in the area north of Baghdad.
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