On April 30, 24 sailors became U.S. citizens aboard the U.S. Navy ship USS Kearsarge while it was underway in the Mediterranean Sea. John Lafferty, director of the USCIS district office in Rome, Italy, administered the Oath of Allegiance to the new citizens. Lafferty, who has presided over numerous naturalization ceremonies for members of the U.S. military, including in Iraq, conducted his first ceremony onboard a U.S. Navy ship while it was underway.
"It is very challenging to work around the ship's operations while at sea, but we are willing to do whatever it takes to serve our men and women in uniform," said Lafferty. "We consider it a privilege."
Joining Lafferty to conduct the naturalization tests and process the applications was Robert Daum, director of the USCIS field office in Rome.
For the past eight months the USS Kearsarge has been deployed in the Mediterranean conducting a wide range of missions, from providing humanitarian assistance after the summer floods in Pakistan to supporting coalition forces assigned to Operation Unified Protector.
The sailors were formerly citizens of the following 11 countries: Burkina Faso, China, Cuba, Gambia, Jamaica, Mexico, Nepal, Philippines, Romania, Trinidad & Tobago, and Vietnam.