MING Soldier Celebrates U.S. Citizenship

U.S. Army Spc. Ewaen Ediae shows his Oath of Allegiance certificate, declaring him an American citizen, after taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States during a ceremony held in Detroit, Michigan on March 25, 2021. Ediae recently joined the Michigan National Guard’s 1463 rd Transportation Company, which helped to facilitate his quest to become a U.S. citizen. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. David Kujawa)

Michigan National Guard

Story by Master Sgt. David Kujawa

LANSING, Mich. — On March 25, 2021, U.S. Army Spc. Ewaen Ediae, a fueler with the 1463rd Transportation Company (TC), Fort Custer Training Center in Battle Creek, Michigan Army National Guard, recited his Oath of Allegiance and marked the completion of his journey to become a U.S. Citizen.

Just a few years prior, Ediae had arrived here in Michigan from Nigeria intending to just complete his education. However, his plans changed when he learned about how joining the Michigan National Guard would not only allow him to serve the country he had come to love, but also provide a path to citizenship that would prove to be a life changing experience for him.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 328, special provisions apply to those who serve in the U.S. military (active duty, reserves or National Guard) that allow them to file for naturalization
based on their current or prior U.S. military service.

Ediae took advantage of this process and today calls himself “a proud American.”

“I departed Nigeria in 2018 for the U.S. to complete my education while leaving my entire family behind – it was a scary time,” Ediae said.

While attending Western Michigan University (WMU), he learned about how joining the Michigan National Guard (MING) would help streamline the process to become an American citizen.

“About 12 months after my arrival, I found myself in boot camp for the U.S. Army,” he said.

Ediae was mobilized on January 22, 2021, to serve with Task Force Red Lion’s COVID-19 Testing/Team (CVTT) as an administrative assistant supporting the state’s mission in fighting the coronavirus. Task Force Red Lion was assembled by the Michigan National Guard to support vaccination efforts in southeast Michigan.

“Being part of this task force is not where I pictured myself several years ago but I would not change a thing,” he said. “It’s an honor to serve in the U.S. Army.”

“I can’t believe that I’m wearing this great uniform with the American flag on my shoulder while helping to get this lifesaving vaccine out to my fellow Americans,” he said.

Building leadership skills has been Ediae’s highest priority as a new Soldier.

“Ediae has been my team leader since I arrived in the MING,” said Spc. Heather Kobasic, a motor vehicle operator for the 1463rd TC. “I appreciate his leadership and I am learning how to lead by his example.”

For his civilian employment, Ediae works for the Michigan Department of Corrections as a corrections officer with the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater. As he balances both his military and civilian careers, Ediae has also continued to advance his education at WMU and will be graduating with his Masters of Arts degree in Evaluation, Measurement and Research this year and has higher ambitions with his military service.

“After serving two years in the MING, I have decided to attend the Army Officer Candidate School upon graduation,” he said.

While on Task Force Red Lion, Ediae’s supervisors find him to be a continued asset to the mission.

“I have been working with Ediae as his site leader and he is dependable, is a quick learner and is enthusiastic about his mission,” said Sgt. Adam Goudelock, a human resource specialist for Joint Force Headquarters in Lansing, now serving with Task Force Red Lion. “I know he will do well in MING.”

Since 2002, more than 139,000 members of the U.S. military have been naturalized, both at home and abroad. Naturalization ceremonies have taken place in more than 30 countries and in 2020, more than 4,500 service members were naturalized.

“My world is now open and I can be anything I want to be as long as I am ready to work for it,” said Ediae. “MING is my doorway into this new world.”

“What a day March 25, 2021, will mean to me for years to come — this has changed my life forever,” he said.

Individuals looking for more information about how serving in the Michigan Army or Air National Guard can offer great opportunities and be a life changing experience are encouraged to contact recruiters at:
Michigan Army National Guard recruiting, www.miarmyguard.com, 888-906-1636 or the Michigan Army National Guard app or Michigan Air National Guard recruiting, 1-800-432-4296 or Facebook at
https://facebook.com/MIANGRecruiting/.

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