NEWS | Aug. 12, 2021

Oklahoma Guardsmen earning US citizenship

By Maj. Lee Sargent 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

Two service members that were born in other countries work toward U.S. citizenship through their service with the Oklahoma Army National Guard.

The soldiers are Spc. Stephen Ezenwosu of Nigeria and Pfc. Isadora Desrochers of Canada. Both are medics with Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion 279th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

Ezenwosu and Desrochers are not alone in their pursuit. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, since 2002 more than 139,000 U.S. service members born in other countries have become naturalized U.S. citizens through military service.

Ezenwosu first visited the U.S. in January 2017 and later decided to move to Oklahoma. He enlisted in the Oklahoma Army National Guard in October 2019.
“I wanted to contribute to society,” Ezenwosu said of his decision to join the military. Ezenwosu obtained his citizenship on April 16, 2021, and he attends the nursing program at Tulsa Community College.

“The U.S. military does ask a lot of you but also gives a lot back to you,” Ezenwosu said.

Desrochers first arrived in the U.S. on July 4, 2008, when her father took a job in Pryor, Oklahoma. At 20 years old, Desrochers said she plans to take her citizenship test within the next six months.

The opportunity of training in the medical field also played a large part in her decision to join the military.

“I have so many opportunities for medical training,” said Desrochers.

Desrochers is a student in the paramedic program at Oklahoma State University – Oklahoma City. She said her goal is to be a flight medic.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, if you are serving or have served in the U.S. armed forces and are interested in becoming a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible to apply for naturalization under special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
For more information about military service and citizenship, visit https://www.uscis.gov/military/naturalization-through-military-service or contact an Oklahoma National Guard recruiter.