Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Damian Lopez Rodriguez granted posthumous citizenship

Nearly two weeks after he was killed in action in Iraq, Tucson soldier Damian Lopez Rodriguez has been declared a U.S. citizen.

The 19-year-old private first class, a native of Mexico and a 2005 graduate of Pueblo Magnet High School, was awarded a certificate of citizenship on Thursday.

It was presented to the late soldier's mother by officials from Fort Huachuca and the U.S. Office of Citizenship and Immigration.

"Pfc. Lopez Rodriguez was a dedicated, honorable soldier who served this nation well. Awarding him U.S. citizenship honors the sacrifice he and his family have made for our country," Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast, top commander at Fort Huachuca, said in a news release on Friday.

The U.S. government has historically awarded posthumous citizenship to foreign nationals killed in action while fighting in the U.S. armed forces.

Since 2004, citizenship gained in this manner also allows the close relatives of fallen troops to apply for citizenship for themselves.

Lopez Rodriguez, an infantryman, was killed April 6 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee in Baghdad.

Read the rest at the Arizona Star

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