MCIPAC hosts naturalization ceremony
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan – Marine Corps Installations Pacific hosted a naturalization ceremony for U.S. service members and Status of Forces Agreement Personnel Sept. 6 at the Butler Officer’s Club on Camp Foster.
Thirty-six service members and SOFA personnel became citizens during the ceremony.
“I’ve been in the states for ten years and I love being able to finally say I’m an American,” says Intupa Warawan, one of the new citizens, originally from Bangkok, Thailand. “It opens up more opportunities for me.”
The naturalization process is difficult, whether in the United States or overseas, and the process differs if the applicant is a service member or a civilian, according to Kenneth J. Sherman, field office director with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, New Delhi, India.
“(Service members) have to serve honorably with good conduct for at least a year with good moral character,” says Sherman. “They must show they have attachment to the United States Constitution, claim allegiance to the United States, complete a written test, and prove they can read and write in English.”
For service members pursuing naturalization, it is important not to become discouraged during the long process, according to Lance Cpl. Gregorio Pichardo Guzman.
“Have patience and determination,” says Guzman, from the Dominican Republic. “Do your due diligence. Get all of your paperwork finished correctly because otherwise it will be a rollercoaster of a ride.”