Two state Army National Guard officers recognized an Iraqi woman, who was an Arabic translator for the U.S. Army for more than four years, as deserving to become one of the chosen few to take advantage of a Special Immigrant Visas program.
Maj. Mathew Tully of Niskayuna and Lt. Col. Robert Milmore of Cornwall-on-Hudson, Orange County, who served together in Iraq several years ago, made it possible for the woman, whose identity has been hidden by the government, to immigrate to the United States.
The woman, who went to work for the Americans right after the U.S. troops toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, was among those targeted by insurgents, militias and al-Qaida. Additionally, the woman — along with U.S. Army soldiers — often came under attack as they went on patrols, raids and convoys in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods of Baghdad.
But the violence came too close once she started getting threats at her home, and she applied for the visa. Milmore helped speed her application and phoned Tully to see whether he would sponsor her and help her become a U.S. citizen.
Tully said yes in a flash.
“There was a clear need for her to get out of Iraq,” Tully said during an interview at his Tully, Rinckey & Associates PLLC law firm in Colonie.
Seven months after she applied, she arrived in the U.S. last month. Tully and his wife welcomed her to stay with them, helped her get insurance and a Social Security card and provided her with a job at his law firm.