March 2 was a momentous day for the 52nd Translator/Interpreter Company from the 162nd Infantry Brigade at Fort Polk.
Since the company’s activation Oct. 16, 2009, the company has received and integrated 153 09L translator and interpreter soldiers into its ranks. The soldiers hail from 18 different countries with 19 varying dialects, including Afghanistan, Morocco, Ethiopia and Iran. Part of the integration process involves coordination with immigration and naturalization officials to ensure all 09L soldiers gain their citizenship for their service to the United States armed forces.
Before March 2, all 09L soldiers were naturalized as citizens of the United States except for Spc. Zabiullah Sahok, originally from Afghanistan. Leadership worked diligently in pursuit of Sahok’s citizenship, but he was selected for a deployment to support Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and was attached to 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y. before the process was complete.
Efforts and coordination with immigration offices continued after Specialist Sahok made his way to Fort Drum.
Two weeks after his arrival, Sahok heard the good news; his naturalization date was set for March 2 at the Syracuse, N.Y. Immigration Office.
That morning, Sahok made his way to the Syracuse Immigration Office with a fellow 09L soldier and comrade, Spc. Lidya Admoun.
After arriving, he filled out last minute paperwork, signed documents, and then was asked to stand next to the American Flag.
He then raised his right hand and stated the Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America.