At the beginning of the Iraq War, nearly 40,000 members of the United States military were not citizens. Army Private First Class Diego Rincon was one of them. As a child, he had immigrated to the U.S. from Colombia with his family. He he always known he wanted to join the military, and at 19, he enlisted in the Army.
Diego was deployed to Iraq in March 2003, at the beginning of the war. Just 11 days in, he was killed by a suicide bomber. Diego received U.S. citizenship on April 10, 2003 — the day of his funeral.
His parents, George Rincon and Yolanda Reyes, came to StoryCorps to remember him.
Originally aired May 26, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition.