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Face of Defense: Goal-Oriented Soldier Looks Toward Future

By Army Spc. Allison Churchill
Special to American Forces Press Service

FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELTA, Iraq, Sept. 9, 2008 – So far, September is a big month for Army Spc. Selma Colesbacco.

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Army Spc. Selma Colesbacco poses with her U.S. citizenship certificate and American flag at Camp Victory, Iraq, shortly after becoming a citizen Sept. 1, 2008. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Latrece Westbrook

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On Sept. 1, Colesbacco, who was born in the Seychelles Islands and raised in Italy, became a U.S. citizen. Two days later, she was promoted to specialist.

The two events take her closer to her ultimate goal: becoming a pilot.

“I’ve always wanted to fly. I love everything that flies,” Colesbacco said.

She originally joined the Army for health insurance after her son had a medical emergency. Her husband’s Army enlistment term had just ended, and the family didn’t have insurance to cover the medical bills.

“I said, ‘Maybe the Army didn’t work for you, but I might like it,’” she said.

Colesbacco, a human resources specialist for 41st Fires Brigade, found she does like the Army, and now she says she’ll probably make it her career.

“I’m not just in the Army for my son; it’s for me, too,” she said.

Colesbacco has several goals for her career. She’d like to attend airborne school and – having learned in the Army that she can run – she is considering taking on the annual Army 10-Miler.

Becoming a citizen presents an array of additional opportunities for her career, she said.

“My job will require a security clearance in 2010, and I wouldn’t have been able to apply for one before,” she said. Having a clearance will allow her to pursue flying someday.

Colesbacco said she hasn’t taken flying classes, but growing up in Italy, she was able to fly throughout Europe, Africa and back to the Seychelles Islands cheaply, confirming her love of being in the air. She said whether she pursues piloting fixed-wing airplanes or helicopters will depend on what will be best for her son and family.

Colesbacco said she hopes she’ll be able to relocate back to Italy when she re-enlists. U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza is close to her hometown of Bassano del Greppe, which she left when she moved to the United States, and where her mother still lives.

(Army Spc. Allison Churchill serves in the 41st Fires Brigade Public Affairs Office.)

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Related Sites:
Multinational Corps Iraq

Click photo for screen-resolution imageSeychelles Islands native Army Spc. Selma Colesbacco, human resources specialist, poses with her 5-year-old son, David, on a flight to visit family in January 2008. Colesbacco often split her time as a child between the Seychelles and Bassa del Geppe, Italy, and became an American citizen at Camp Victory, Iraq, Sept. 1, 2008. Courtesy photo  
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