Service members, spouses, families receive U.S. citizenship on Andersen
By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Gonsier, 36th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 23, 2016
Nine immigrants, from Jamaica, Nepal, Columbia, Russia and the Philippines, were officially recognized as U. S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony Nov. 23.
This was the first time a naturalization ceremony was held on Andersen AFB. Those in attendance were treated to a B-1B Lancer static display and a roaring take off, providing them an authentic experience of U.S. airpower.
“I congratulate you on the completion of your journey in becoming a part of the United States of America,” said Brig. Gen. Douglas A. Cox, 36th Wing commander. “I had the freedom to choose what I could do as an American. Each one of you should be proud to lift your heads high and proclaim that you are Americans and pursue that freedom.”
During the ceremony, prospective U.S. citizens raised their right hand and recited the Oath of Allegiance, officially pledging allegiance to the United States of America.
Seaman Recruit Mario Morris, formerly a Jamaican citizen, finally finished his transition of becoming an U.S. citizen.
“I originally came to the United States in 2002, with my father, grandmother and two brothers,” Morris said. “We came over to seek a better opportunity.”
The process to become a U.S. citizen is long, taking years to complete. Since Morris is an active duty military member, he was able to become a U.S. citizen much sooner.
“It was a huge relief to finally make it official,” he said. “While I’ve been living in America for over 14 years, attending school and college, to finally be able to vote and apply for certain job opportunities makes me feel good and proud.”
The ceremony served as a culmination of extensive application procedures, background investigations and successful completion of a citizenship test. This whole process was geared towards making them a member of the freest nation on earth.
“Your freedom is not dependent on your blood or where you were born, but it is dependent on your heart and what you have chosen to become,” said Cox. “You now have the opportunity to create a better future for yourself and for your family. Never forget where you came from and be proud of your heritage.”