Kate Dudding: The Story of One American Soldier

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The Story of One American Soldier

 

I do solemnly swear

that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States

against all enemies, foreign and domestic;

that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;

and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States

and the orders of the officers appointed over me,

according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

So help me God.

-      Oath of Enlistment, United States Army

 

 

Image result for us army logo

Every U.S. Army soldier solemnly swears this Oath when they enlist. This is the story of one American soldier.

 

His family moved to the United States in 1990 when he was eight.

 

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 oath:

 

"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.

 

A 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.

 

 

Then, that 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.

 

 

His reserve 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?”

 

File:UA Flight 175 hits WTC south tower 9-11 edit.jpeg

On the 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.”

 

While in Iraq, his unit came under heavy mortar fire and he had to sleep in his combat gear.

 

 

 

This 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.”

 

 

 

During his 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."

 

“Mohsin is 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.”

 

Mohsin returned 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."

 

 

In June 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.

 

As was 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.

 

Three months 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:

Sgt. Joshua W. Harris, 21, of Romeoville, Illinois;

Capt. Bruce E. Hays, 42, of Cheyenne, Wyoming; and

Staff Sgt. Jason A. Vazquez, 24, of Chicago, Illinois.

They were among the 155 U.S. soldiers who died in Afghanistan that year.

 

 

 

Mohsin was 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.”

 

Mohsin’s father 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?”

 

 

Mohsin’s 18 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."     

 

 

 

The Story of One American Soldier – 1st Lt. Mohsin Naqvi

 

Copyright 2018 by Kathryn Eike Dudding. All Rights Reserved.

 


Kate Dudding (518) 383-4620
8 Sandalwood Drive kate@katedudding.com
Clifton Park, NY 12065-2700 USA
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