CAMP TAJI, Iraq – Spc. Dimitros A. Pastos, currently serving here with the 211th Military Police Battalion, was able to fulfill his dream of becoming a United States citizen in Baghdad, Feb. 15, 2010.
The ceremony was overseen by the Deputy Commanding General for Operations, United States Forces-Iraq, and I Corps Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr. Jacoby called on the newest American citizens to continue their faithful and honorable service to the United States and he personally presented each Soldier with a Commander’s Coin for Excellence as well as an American Flag.
Pastos, immigrated to the United States from Greece at the age of seven and his family settled in Lynn, Mass., where he has lived and raised his own family ever since. Early on in the unit’s deployment, Pastos expressed his interest in becoming a United States citizen knowing that it could be accomplished through the assistance of the United States military.
In October of 2009, Pastos began the process of fulfilling his dream along with the assistance of his section leader, Sgt. She’lagh R. Dunbar. After completing the often arduous process, his dream finally became reality along with another 106 Soldiers at the Al-Faw Palace, one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces in Baghdad. It was truly a great privilege for those in attendance to witness these Soldiers take the Oath of Citizenship to the United States of America in a truly historic location. The significance of such an event was not lost on those present and to witness so many young men and women, who have all been serving their adopted country, finally have the privilege of calling themselves a citizen of the United States was a truly moving moment for all in attendance.
Pastos was personally moved by the entire experience and his pride and excitement was clearly visible on his face. When asked if he felt any different, he responded in his normal quiet manner, “I do feel different but it is a good different.”
Pastos was very appreciative of those that helped him through the process. In particular he was extremely grateful to Dunbar who assisted him in all aspects of the process to include studying American history and civics as well as preparing him for his one on one interview.
Pastos and the other members of the 211th Military Police Battalion continue to support the transition of facilities and operations at Camp Taji to the Government of Iraq. The unit is scheduled to complete its deployment later in 2010.