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Division West NCO becomes U.S. citizen

Information  November 20 2012
 — By CJ Grisham
Division West NCO becomes U.S. citizen

Staff Sgt. Pantaleon Montes, an infantry Soldier with the 2-393rd Infantry Battalion, 120th Infantry Brigade, Division West recites the oath of allegiance in a naturalization ceremony at III Corps headquarters on Fort Hood Nov. 16. Montes was one of 10 to become U.S. citizens in the first naturalization ceremony that has occurred on Fort Hood since 2009. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tony Foster, Division West Public Affairs)

This is a great story. In light of all the conversation in political circles about immigration, the fact that immigrants – non-citizens – are serving in our nation’s military seems to go unnoticed. I’m all for a fast track to citizenship for those willing to do a tour of active duty service. This is a local story from SSG Tony Foster here at Fort Hood.

Most Americans put little thought into becoming a United States citizen, mostly, because the majority of the population is born one.

But after waiting four years since applying for his citizenship, one Division West noncommissioned officer can count himself among the multitude of other U.S. citizens.

Staff Sgt. Pantaleon Montes, an infantry Soldier with the 2-393rd Infantry Battalion, 120th Infantry Brigade, became a U.S. citizen in a naturalization ceremony at III Corps Headquarters Nov. 16.

“It feels like I’m a new person,” Montes said. “It is pretty awesome.”

Montes was one of 10 Fort Hood Soldiers to gain their U.S. citizenship during the first naturalization ceremony on Fort Hood in the past three years.

Montes, a Mexican native, has served in the U.S. Army for the past 11 years and has been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq.

All the Soldiers are veterans of combat during their current terms of service. The new citizens were born in countries from all over the world including Fiji, Cuba, Italy, Kenya and Micronesia.

“It is a great thing that these Soldiers served and weren’t fully U.S. citizens,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Edward Johnson, 120th Infantry Brigade command sergeant major. “The song during the ceremony said ‘I’m proud to be an American’ and these Soldiers proved just that.”

A host of Soldiers, Family members and civilians witnessed the Soldiers taking the oath of allegiance to the United States.

“They have done more than most citizens will ever do,” said Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell, III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general.

The ceremony included a congratulations video from President Barack Obama and a music video of the song, “God Bless the USA.”

Special guests included officials from the San Antonio branch of the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Service.

The day’s events concluded with all of the newly naturalized American citizens receiving a certificate presented by Campbell.

“I’ve been here for as long as I can remember and it is home,” Montes said. “I love this country.”

(4) Readers Comments

  1. It’s an intersting story, and it’s encouraging since I’d like to follow the same path to citizenship.
    What surprises me in this particular story is the amount of time that it took : 4 YEARS ! From filling the application to the ceremony. Is this standard ?

    Expedited Naturalization Executive Order on USCIS website

  2. RITE ON !
    CJ KEEP UP YOUR GREAT WORK.
    BEST REGARD, Former Seaman Thomas Folan.

  3. I thank God that President Obama is allowing undocumented immigrants work permits over the next two years.

    Last year Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, Ala.; Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham, Ala.; Episcopal Bishop Henry Parsley Jr.; and Methodist Bishop William Willimon filed suit to stop merciless anti-immigrant legislation. They won.

    When I became a citizen 40 years ago, I could never forget the words of Emma Lazarus on the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

    Thomas P. Folan
    72 Strathmore Gate

    Stony Brook, NY 11790
    (631)553-6873

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