Feds say Vietnam vet not U.S. citizenKETV Omaha
May 29, 2012
PLATTSMOUTH, Nebraska - For the last 41 years, a man has been without a country even though he served in the United States military in Vietnam.
Franz Pschenica, 65, has official government documents stating he's an American, but legally he's not, because he never took the written test everyone must take to become a citizen. It's a test he said he's already taken on the battlefield.
Pschenica's story starts in Europe.
"I was born in Austria," he said. "My parents were refugees in Austria for eight years. They lost their land at gunpoint in 1944. They had to get up and go."
That brought Pschenica's family to the United States in 1952, where they settled in Plattsmouth.
Pschenica grew up in Nebraska and graduated from Omaha South High School. He then decided to serve his country.
"[I spent] six years and 19 days in the United States Army," he said.
Pschenica fought in the jungles of Vietnam from 1969 to 1971. When he came home, he found out the U.S. was not his country after all.
"I went to war for this country and I came home," he said. "They basically told me 'you don't belong.'"
Even though he had discharge papers from the U.S. Army saying he was a citizen, Pschenica was told that he was not.
"I was told, 'We just can't swear you in, you've got to study this booklet and take a written test,'" he said.
The test would have asked him his knowledge of the English language, American history and the government. He also would have to take an oath to support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies -- foreign and domestic.
"I've already taken this oath twice," said Pschenica. "I've got an official document that says I'm a citizen. I said this is an official government document. Aren't we the same government here?"
KETV NewsWatch 7 contacted the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Officials there said that even though Pschenica has Army records showing he's an American, they have no records of him ever taking the test.
"I think I took my test. I went over and fought for my country," said Pschenica.
He said he won't take another test to prove what he believes -- that after years of service to America, he should be a citizen because he has it in writing.
As much as it means to Pschenica to be a citizen, he said his pride means more.
"It's something I feel pretty strongly about, obviously, because I've felt this way for 41 years," he said.
Apparently the Veterans Administration and Social Security Administration regard Pschenica as a citizen. He receives benefits from both.