U.S. citizens serving in foreign militaries?

Are American citizens allowed to serve in armed forces of other countries, or do they lose their citizenship if they do that?


  • Alessan, dual Israeli-U.S. citizen from birth, Sergeant (res.), Israeli Defense Force.

What would happen if the U.S. went to war against Israel?
Wouldn’t that create all kinds of problems for folks like this?

Read Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and “Farewell to Arms”. Both have American’s serving in foreign military.

Wasn’t there a Supreme Court Decision in the '60’s that upheld the right of some Americans to serve in the Israeli Army without losing their citizenship?

Only if you’re an officer or the country is at war with the USA.


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I assume the U.S. allows immigrants who aren’t yet citizens to serve in its military too?

I notice that you can also lose your citizenship by being convicted of attempting a violent overthrow of the government. Have any militia types or Weathermen ever had it revoked in that way? Don’t remember hearing of it, if so.

Yes, as a matter of fact that is an issue with Filipinos serving in the USA military. Filipinos serving during World War II were not offered the possibility of becoming US citizens, contrary to citizens of other countries that served in the US army (or so I’ve been told.)

In my experience, the “attempting a violent overthrow” expression is a “code phrase” used to designate the Communist Party. However, on the face of it, it would seem to apply to any US terrorist.

There was a segment yesterday on a TV magazine about some Afghan guy who lives in the DC area where he owns a business but he is also a MIG pilot for the Talibans. Now, that things have heated up he has been called back in case he is needed.

I always had a suspicion that the INS people were none too bright but this has to take the cake. They are deporting truckloads of people who you would think would have a fair right to stay but this guy is living here legally while being in the military of a terrorist country hostile to the USA.

There was some convoluted explanation that he had fought against the soviets and this was his reward, but come on!

Ask Michael New if you’re allowed to serve in foreign military forces…He refused to wear UN insignia, due to the fact that his oath was to uphold the Constitution and the United States, not to serve foreign powers. He was court-martialed for that refusal.

Isn’t the Clinton/Gore regime great?

Several dozen New Bruswickers served with the Maine regulars in the Civil War, bakc when the Maine-NB border was merely a suggestion. From 1914-1916, the first half of WW I the US decided to sit out while selling arms to both sides, scores of yanks joined the Canadian army to get into the action. Ditto WW II. A handful of Canadian Cree Indians, fed up with trying to find work in Canada during the 60s’, joined the US Army and spent three tours as scouts in Vietnam. And of course, hundreds of Americans were . . . stationed, shall we say in Canada during the Vietnam War. As Canada had no draft, dodging the draft wasn’t a crime in Canada - hence, draft avoiders couldn’t be deported.

In 1967, the Supreme Court ruled in Afroyim v. Rusk that the 14th Ammendment elevated Citizenship to a Constitutionally protected Right. Thus, an American cannot loose his citizenship without his consent. This effectivly nullified most of the USC relating to loss of citizenship through voting in a foreign election, swearing allegence to a foreign government or serving in a foreign military.

I used to know a guy who claimed that his father, an American citizen, had served in the British Royal Navy … but it should be noted that both father and son were complete nut cases.

The Royal Air Force, IIRC, had at least one Free French squadron, more than one Polish squadron and one American volunteer squadron during World War 2.

I recall reading about the details of this problem. Basically, an American citizen can serve in a foreign military as long as you don’t volunteer. If you get drafted, you won’t be forced to surrender US citizenship. There are even circumstances where you can be drafted into an army at war against the US and still not lose your citizenship. I heard of a test case of US-born Japanese who were in Japan when WWII broke out, they were drafted and served in the Japanese army, even fighting against US troops. But the US courts decided the service was involuntary and allowed them to retain their US citizenship.

He disobeyed a direct and legal order, and you’re blaming Bill Clinton for his being court-martialed?

If you can’t even FOLLOW FRIGGING ORDERS, you should be court-martialed. I wonder if “Gross stupidity” is in the UCMJ.

One of my coworkers hotfooted it over to Israel way back when things were heating up with the intention of enlisting. Unfortunately, that was the 13-days war and by the time he got over there, there wasn’t as much zionistic ass-kicking to do as he’d hoped. He did stay, however, and worked as a civilian in the army, guarding some outpost.

He’s back and never lost his citizenship.