Refugee Realizes Dream of Citizenship
A Decade After Fleeing Iraq, Woman, 20, Is Serving as a U.S. Marine
By Amy OrndorffWashington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 25, 2007; Page A10
It was 1996 in Iraq, and Saddam Hussein was in power. U.N. inspectors were searching for weapons of mass destruction, and U.N. sanctions were on. U.S. jets screamed overhead in no-fly zones. Rival Kurdish factions battled openly. And the Babani family regularly stacked giant bags of powdered milk against the windows of their home in northern Iraq to protect against stray bullets.
Sona Babani was 10 years old at the time. She played hopscotch with her neighbors when she wasn't in her basement hiding from gunshots. Yesterday, Babani, 20, dressed in her Marine best and became a U.S. citizen.Babani was surrounded by 24 men and women from 14 countries in a ceremony at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, where she led those in the room in the Pledge of Allegiance. Twelve others in the group were also members of the U.S. military. They joined about 26,000 other "green card" service members -- noncitizens serving in the U.S. military -- who have become citizens since September 2001.
"I am an American. I am a citizen of a country I am fighting for," Babani said, explaining her desire to become a citizen. "It's kind of personal. I have loved America since I was little."NSA/CSS Adds New Name to Cryptologic Memorial Wall
On 24 July 2007, LTG Keith B. Alexander, USA, Director, National Security Agency/ Chief, Central Security Service, paid special tribute to CTT1 Steven P. Daugherty at a Memorial Ceremony. The service was attended by family, friends, and distinguished guests.
Petty Officer Daugherty, USN, a Cryptologic Technician Technical was a member of Navy Information Operations Command Norfolk, who was deployed in direct support of Commander, Naval Special Warfare Group TWO’s Tactical Support Center. He perished on 6 July 2007 while performing a cryptologic mission in Baghdad when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonated near his humvee.
The ceremony included a traditional wreath laying and the unveiling of the name "CTT1 Steven P. Daugherty" on the NSA/CSS Cryptologic Memorial Wall. The wall, dedicated in 1996, lists the names of 157 Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, and civilian cryptologists who have made the ultimate sacrifice, "serving in silence," in the performance of their duties since World War II.
Additional information on the Memorial Wall and a special historical monograph highlighting CTT1 Daugherty’s life, service, and sacrifice can be viewed via the NSA/CSS web site at www.nsa.gov/memorial/index.cfm.