Marines, foreign nationals become naturalized US citizens

Base Info
From left to right, Stefanie Marin, Panama; Natalia Dudzic, Belarus; Hiroko Owens, Japan; Paul Halstead, Jamaica; Lance Cpl. Benjay Williams, Liberia; Cpl. Carlson Thompson, Jamaica; and Sgt. Abelardo Diaz, Cuba, are recognized on stage after receiving their certificate of naturalization at the Building One auditorium at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Nov. 5, 2015.
From left to right, Stefanie Marin, Panama; Natalia Dudzic, Belarus; Hiroko Owens, Japan; Paul Halstead, Jamaica; Lance Cpl. Benjay Williams, Liberia; Cpl. Carlson Thompson, Jamaica; and Sgt. Abelardo Diaz, Cuba, are recognized on stage after receiving their certificate of naturalization at the Building One auditorium at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Nov. 5, 2015.

Marines, foreign nationals become naturalized US citizens

by: Lance Cpl. Aaron Henson, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan | .
U.S. Marine Corps | .
published: November 14, 2015

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Three Marines and four foreign nationals received U.S. citizenship during a naturalization ceremony at the Building One auditorium at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Nov. 5, 2015.

Once recipients recited the oath and received their certificates, they became U.S. citizens.

“The special thing about this ceremony is that someone is committing themselves to something bigger than they are,” said Col. Robert V. Boucher, station commanding officer.

In order to become a U.S. citizen, recipients must speak and know English, have good moral character, knowledge of the U.S. government and history, and take the Oath of Allegiance.

“These men and women have incredible opportunities, as of right now, that they didn’t have an hour ago,” said Capt. Tim Condus, Legal Service Support Detachment officer in charge at Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron.

The four foreign nationals received their U.S. citizenship through marriage and three Marines received U.S. citizenship through serving in the U.S. military. The Marines included Sgt. Abelardo Diaz, Cuba, motor vehicle operator with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171; Cpl. Carlson Thompson, Jamaica, supply clerk at the Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Okinawa; and Lance Cpl. Benjay Williams, Liberia, tiltrotor airframe mechanic with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265.

“Three of these people were in uniform,” said Boucher. “They have already pledged to support and defend the constitution of the United States, and they were not U.S. citizens. Now, they’re actually U.S. citizens taking a similar oath.”

During the closing ceremony, recipients watched a video of President Barack Obama, who congratulated them on their achievements.

“It was a good event to be a part of,” said Boucher. “Six different countries were represented today and we have seven new citizens.”

Tags: Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Base Info
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