Local News

Foreign Soldiers Defend U.S. Interests With Pride

Posted January 13, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST

— You don't have to be born in America to be wanted by Uncle Sam. More and more soldiers in theU.S. Militaryare coming from outside our 50 states.

Specialist Yuriy Aronov has been a soldier for two and a half years.

He was born in the former Soviet Union, and grew up in Uzbekistan. But Aronov chose to pursue his career in theUnited States Army.

"I pay back to America because I am a refugee of my country," Aronov says. "America protected me so my family gave a representative to protect America."

More and more foreign nationals are choosing the U.S. military. Recruiters say new immigrants are drawn to the military's structure, security and positive image.

Fort Bragg soldier Rami Elsouhag's family is from Egypt. He says he has never had second thoughts about his decision to join.

"I am doing the right thing regardless of my hometown, neighboring countries or where it is," Elsouhag says.

Along with being solid soldiers, leaders say the foreigners have extensive language skills that can be used in the field. They can also teach their fellow GIs about culture.

"Any time you can be educated on another culture, or way of life, you are better for it," Sgt. Maj. David Henderson says.

Recruiters say new immigrants also make great soldiers because they are often highly motivated and extremely patriotic.