Story of One American Soldier
do solemnly swear
I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States
all enemies, foreign and domestic;
I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States
the orders of the officers appointed over me,
to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
help me God.
of Enlistment, United States Army
Army soldier solemnly swears this Oath when they enlist. This is the story of one
family moved to the United States in 1990 when he was eight.
years later when he was 16, in a large government room near Newburg, NY, with
many others, his whole family raised their right hands and solemnly swore this
"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely
renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity
to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty,
of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;
that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the
United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when
required by the law;
that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of
the United States when required by the law;
that I will perform work of national importance under civilian
direction when required by the law;
and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental
reservation or purpose of evasion;
so help me God."
Then they sang the Star Spangled Banner,
pledged allegiance to the flag, and proudly became naturalized American citizens.
few years later, when he graduated from high school, he thought of joining the
Army. He told his family, “I have skills that few native born Americans have,
skills I learned in our birth country that would be useful to the U.S. Army.”
But instead he went to college, as his father wished.
horrific day September 11th, 2001 happened. His sister later said,
“September 11th kind of made the decision for him." Four days
after September 11th, he joined the U.S. Army Reserve and solemnly
swore the enlistment oath.
unit was mobilized during the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. Because of
his name, this American soldier had to put up with comments from fellow
soldiers: “What kind of last name is that?” “Are you sure you’re fighting for
the right side?”
telephone, his brother and sister asked, “Is it worth it, with everyone giving
you so much mouth?”
He just said,
“This is the only way I have to show that I love this country.”
Iraq, his unit came under heavy mortar fire and he had to sleep in his combat
American soldier, Mohsin Naqvi, returned home on leave after four months in
Iraq to make a surprise visit in time to celebrate the end of Ramadan. For
Muslims this is a time of great celebration, with families gathering together
in the way other families gather together for Christmas or Passover. If
family members can’t come, they call. So you can probably imagine the joy of
Mohsin’s family when he actually arrived home when they had been expecting to
only speak him over the telephone. His father said, "It is the best
holiday of my life.”
furlough, Mohsin told a local reporter, “It was scary at times. But I knew
everyone in the community here was praying for me." Some of you have
probably done that – prayed for local people overseas in war zones. Mohsin also
said, "It's still a little weird having running water."
always cracking jokes,” his family and friends said. “He is the kind of guy who
could make a joke out of anything no matter how terrible the situation was. He
is the life of the party.”
to Iraq and served a total of nine months there. After graduating from college,
he re-enlisted for active duty, solemnly swearing that enlistment oath again,
and became a first lieutenant. “This is going to be my career,” he told his
family. “The only way I'm getting out of the Army is if they kick me out, which
isn't going to happen, or if I retire."
2008 when he was 26, Mohsin married a young woman named Raazia in her mosque
in Colonie, NY – a town neighboring mine. Friends recalled that after the
ceremony, Mohsin and Raazia were so happy and laughing all the time.
planned, several days later, Mohsin left 20 year old Raazia and was deployed
to Afghanistan, where he could use his special skills. Being a native of
Pakistan and an Urdu speaker as well as a Muslim, he could communicate with
Afghans and reassure them about American intentions.
later, on Sept. 17, 2008, while on patrol in Afghanistan, 1st Lt.
Mohsin Naqvi was killed by a roadside bomb. Three other American soldiers were
killed with him:
Joshua W. Harris, 21, of Romeoville, Illinois;
Bruce E. Hays, 42, of Cheyenne, Wyoming; and
Sgt. Jason A. Vazquez, 24, of Chicago, Illinois.
They were among
the 155 U.S. soldiers who died in Afghanistan that year.
buried with full military honors after a solemn Muslim ceremony in the same
mosque where he had been married only three months earlier. After the three
rifle volleys and the playing of Taps, the American flag covering his coffin
was ceremoniously folded and presented to his 20 year old widow, Raazia.
Brig. Gen. William
N. Phillips presented Raazia with Mohsin’s Purple Heart, his Bronze Star, his
Combat Infantry Badge and his dog tags. Brig. Gen. Phillips said, “Mohsin
served his Army with great distinction. He was a real patriot.”
said, “We are patriotic Americans. We are proud to be Americans … but still,
people don’t trust us. Why are we Muslims being blamed for something done by 19
people? Why? Why is that? We are patriotic Americans. My son did the best he
could because he sacrificed his life. He’s down there in that grave under tons
of dirt. What else can you expect from a patriotic American?”
year old brother said, “Mohsin told me he had to stay in the Army because it
was the only way he had as a Muslim to
show he also loved this country. There is no one that I know who loved this
country more. Mohsin is my hero, and I hope everybody else can look to him
and say the same."
Story of One American Soldier – 1st Lt. Mohsin Naqvi