Soldier, Marine in Florida Become American Citizens
(May 1, 2009)
Marine Corps Pfc. Ryan
Rundle, Army Spc. Carlos Andres Espinosa and
Army Capt. Michael Scahill pause with a color
guard from the Sons of the American Revolution
and children of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services employees who were visiting the CIS
Southeast Regional Office in Orlando, Fla., as
part of "Take Your Child to Work Day," April 24,
2009. The children got to see their parents'
work come to fruition when two U.S. military
personnel were sworn in as American citizens.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services photo
ORLANDO, Fla., April 27, 2009 -- Army Spc.
Carlos Andres Espinosa and Marine Corps Pfc. Ryan Rundle are
no strangers to taking oaths. Both of them previously took
oaths of enlistment and agreed to protect and defend the
Constitution of the United States, but on April 24, the U.S.
government asked them to take another oath: the oath of
allegiance that made them both American citizens.
“I had hopes it would happen someday,” Espinosa said. “It
feels great! I finally became a U.S. citizen.”
Espinosa's journey to citizenship started when he left his
native Colombia. Eight years later, the voyage brought him
into the ranks of the Army Reserve, where he serves with the
912th Adjutant General Company as a human resources
In December 2008, Espinosa's company
commander learned that the soldier was eager to deploy and
serve his country overseas, but he could not deploy in his
current military occupational skill because he did not have
a security clearance.
Army Capt. Michael Scahill, then the commander of the 912th,
sought help from the 143rd Sustainment Command's staff judge
advocate in getting Espinosa's packet reviewed via a special
program that helps to expedite servicemembers' applications
for citizenship. About four months later, Espinosa was
granted his citizenship.|
“I'm just thrilled to be able to see this in living color,”
Scahill said. He was the keynote speaker at the
naturalization ceremony for the two men.
During his remarks, Scahill said his grandfather arrived in
the United States from Ireland and processed through Ellis
Island in 1923 and later raised Scahill's father in Chicago.
And Scahill's connection to the naturalization process has
another family connection. His wife is Iranian, and he said
their children are being reared in a “bilingual culture.”
For Rundle, the path to citizenship took a little longer —
12 years, to be exact. He left Johannesburg, South Africa,
in 1996, and had to spend five years in the United States to
earn his “green card.” Citizenship and Immigration Services
officials said each case is different and some take longer
than others do, but Rundle did not seem bothered by the
The Camp Lejeune, N.C., infantryman with less than one year
of military service under his belt was granted special leave
to attend his naturalization ceremony.
“I wasn't expecting all this,” Rundle said. “I'm a little
nervous about it, but I appreciate it.”
In front of a group of CIS officials, friends, family and
well-wishers, the two men raised their right hands and took
the oath of allegiance.
“We wish to thank you for your service,” Scahill told the
two men. “Somebody has to protect life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness.”
Terry Tierny, the CIS assistant director for adjudications,
administered the oath and echoed the sentiment.
“I want to express my gratitude to you for choosing this
career path,” Tierney said. “You're now citizens of the
greatest nation in the world.”
The new citizens are looking forward to deploying now that
they have cleared this milestone.
“We're on workup right now for Afghanistan,” Rundle said.
His unit likely will leave in August.
Espinosa, whose military job requires a security clearance,
will now be able to get his clearance and do the job he
joined the military to do.
“Now I'll be able to be deployed,” Espinosa said. “Serving
means a lot to me. This is really a great opportunity for
me.” He likely will deploy in the fall and head to
The two men have much in common; both were born outside the
United States, and both enlisted to serve in the U.S.
military. But later this year when they deploy to support
operations in Afghanistan, both will be living out the words
of the oath of allegiance they declared as citizens.
It reads, in part, “I will bear arms on behalf of the United
States when required by law,” and “I will perform work of
CIS officials said their agency receives 6 to 7 million
applications to process each year.
By Army Capt. Steve Alvarez
143rd Sustainment Command
Special to American Forces Press Service
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