KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (11/3/2012) – Love brought Spc.
Nikolaus Stiles, from Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, south to
Wisconsin, and later to the Army.
Spc. Nikolaus Stiles, a tank driver assigned to Company C, 1st
Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Third
Infantry Division and Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada native, stands by
his Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle, Oct. 20,
2012, in Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. After participating in a
naturalization ceremony on Nov. 2, 2012, Stiles plans to change his
military occupational specialty and make a 20-year career of the
Army. Photos by Army Sgt. Uriah Walker
Stiles is assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor
Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division,
currently deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
Approximately 75,000 service members became naturalized citizens
between fiscal years 2002 and 2011. Each of those individuals has
their own story to tell about how they came to the U.S. and why they
made their decision to immigrate.
“I moved down when I was
20,” said Stiles. “I met my wife online and moved down, and we got
married. I got my green card and then I enlisted shortly thereafter.
I joined the military because it's something I've always wanted to
do. While I was in Canada the opportunity (to enlist) – it just
wasn't the right time.”
Stiles, married for three years and
now two years into his Army career, says the military lifestyle
wasn't part of his plan when he immigrated.
continued, “(The) military was something that happened after. It was
something I hadn't considered until we had been married for just
about a year. I got intoit, and I love it.”
His new wife and her entire family fully supported him
when he decided to join. Her father was a drill sergeant and
a tanker, and both of her brothers are currently serving.
The 23-year-old has been employed to perform a broad
spectrum of jobs, ranging from pizza delivery to locksmith
services and construction. He calls himself “a jack of all
Stiles intends to make a career of the Army, but not in
his current military occupational specialty as a tank
driver. After completing the naturalization ceremony, the
final step to gain citizenship, he wants to go back to the
classroom and learn to become a psychological operations
He says, “I'm planning on making the
military a career, but even if I get out at 20 years, I'm
still going to be young. I'd like to work another job. I'd
like to get some expertise in an area that will transfer
over to a civilian field. As much fun as tanking is, there's
not much demand for it as a civilian.
By Army Sgt. Uriah Walker
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