Mass Re-enlistment, Citizenship Ceremony Scheduled for July 4 in Iraq
By Meghan Vittrup
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jul. 3, 2007 More than 600 troops are expected to re-enlist tomorrow, and more than 100 others will become U.S. citizens in an Independence Day ceremony at Camp Victory, Iraq.
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, made the announcement during an interview today on Bill Bennett’s nationally syndicated radio program.
Petraeus and his senior enlisted leader, Army Command Sgt. Maj. Marvin Hill, decided to hold this year’s ceremony after the success of a previous ceremony in 2003 for the 101st Airborne Division.
“On the Fourth of July back in 2003, we had a re-enlistment ceremony. The idea was we would try to get 101, given the unit designation, to raise their right hand. And I think we had something like 150 that did,” Petraeus said. “I think it’s going to be somewhere close to 600 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are going to raise their right hand on the Fourth of July here and sign up for another tour in the armed forces.”
Many non-citizen servicemembers in Iraq also will become citizens during the event.
“There is going to be a citizenship ceremony, as well, which will be exciting. A lot of great young men and women in uniform who I can’t say are Americans yet, but they are serving and they have the American flag on their right shoulder. They have served our country, and now they will truly become citizens of our country as well,” Petraeus said.