Face of Defense: Crew Chief Earns Citizenship

KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan, March 2, 2011 — After months of research and ded­i­ca­tion, Army Sgt. Andreas But­tner took the oath of U.S. cit­i­zen­ship with more than 100 oth­er ser­vice mem­bers Jan. 29 at Kan­da­har Air­field here.

Army Sgt. Andreas Buttner, right, displays his certificate of citizenship as he stands next to his escort, Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Allan Mace, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Jan. 29, 2011. U.S. Army photo
Army Sgt. Andreas But­tner, right, dis­plays his cer­tifi­cate of cit­i­zen­ship as he stands next to his escort, Army Chief War­rant Offi­cer 3 Allan Mace, at Kan­da­har Air­field, Afghanistan, Jan. 29, 2011.
U.S. Army pho­to
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But­tner, a 34-year-old crew chief in Com­pa­ny C, Task Force Phoenix, began the process of obtain­ing his cit­i­zen­ship after arriv­ing here in Sep­tem­ber.

Orig­i­nal­ly from Ful­da, Ger­many, But­tner deployed to Afghanistan pre­pared with all of the paper­work he would need to begin his nat­u­ral­iza­tion pack­et. He acknowl­edged he was anx­ious about the process even though he had been extreme­ly thor­ough.

“I was ner­vous and excit­ed — ner­vous that I was miss­ing any doc­u­ments, [and] excit­ed that I was on track for cit­i­zen­ship,” he said.

But­tner mailed the com­plet­ed pack­et back to the Unit­ed States to begin the review process, and nat­u­ral­iza­tion author­i­ties began his back­ground check.

Four months after sub­mit­ting his nat­u­ral­iza­tion pack­et, But­tner and his escort, Army Chief War­rant Offi­cer 3 Allan Mace of Sacra­men­to, Calif., flew to Kan­da­har to fin­ish the immi­gra­tion process, which includ­ed com­plet­ing an inter­view.

“The inter­view took about one and a half hours, and I was very ner­vous, because the deci­sion for cit­i­zen­ship approval or dis­ap­proval is made right then and there,” But­tner said. “Of course, the thought of miss­ing any paper­work or sup­port­ing doc­u­ments was on my mind.”

Pri­or to his inter­view, But­tner was required to study 100 ques­tions for an exam that cov­ered Amer­i­can his­to­ry and gov­ern­ment. He passed with fly­ing col­ors.

Mace, who has known But­tner for more than four years, said But­tner sac­ri­ficed and invest­ed him­self in the Unit­ed States.

“It is peo­ple like him who tell the world that with hard work, dili­gence, ded­i­ca­tion and love for a nation that the Unit­ed States con­tin­ues to be a coun­try of oppor­tu­ni­ty and com­pas­sion,” Mace said.

But­tner rec­om­mends that sol­diers who want to become U.S. cit­i­zens take advan­tage of the sup­port the mil­i­tary offers.

“I am extreme­ly proud to be a cit­i­zen and to con­tin­ue to fight along­side my fel­low cit­i­zens for the sta­bi­liza­tion of Afghanistan and to ensure the free­dom and lib­er­ty of all back home,” he said.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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