Citizenship through service

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alan Ricker
  • 15th Wing Public Affairs

On October 12, 2021, an Airman from the 15th Medical Group became a U.S. citizen after waiting almost eight years since being adopted from the Philippines.

Ihrig’s uncle was serving in the U.S. Air Force at the time and, along with his wife, became Ihrig’s adopted parents to offer her a better life.

“Our adoption finally came through when I was 18,” said Airman First Class Joverly Ihrig, 15th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron physical medical technician. “That’s when I left from the Philippines to Kadena Air Base, Japan.”

Unfortunately, Ihrig was not able to receive her citizenship through adoption due to her age, and instead attended college while she was living with her adoptive family.

After moving to Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, she met her wife, U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ashley Ihrig. The two married, and Joverly moved to Hawaii for her wife’s next assignment.

Ihrig later enlisted in the Air Force after three years of applying, following in her uncle’s footsteps.

“Seeing how different it was after leaving the Philippines for the first time with my uncle in the military and everything that comes with it, I was like -- this is a pretty good gig,” said Ihrig. “That’s what made it very impactful at that time and then even more so when I got married.”

Ihrig was finally able to join the Air Force on April 28, 2020. Soon after, she worked towards her citizenship through the naturalization application.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, members can receive naturalization through military service and meet all requirements listed in sections 328 or 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. These sections include good moral character, knowledge of the English language and the U.S. government and history, as well as attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution.

After more than eight years of waiting, Ihrig raised her right hand at the Honolulu Immigration Court to finally partake in the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America.

“It was like, a little overwhelming — after all [these] years, I finally got it,” said Ihrig.