USCIS Naturalizes 40 Military and Family Onboard USS Essex in Japan
SASEBO, Japan – The hangar bay of the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex is normally where sailors and Marines perform maintenance and prepare aircraft and other equipment for amphibious operations. Today it was the site of a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) naturalization ceremony for 40 members of the military community. The 34 Sailors, Marines, and Soldiers recited the Oath of Allegiance along with one child and five spouses of military service men and women stationed in Japan.
After administering the Oath, USCIS Seoul, Korea Field Office Director Kenneth Sherman addressed the new citizens. “Your service in the United States military speaks volumes for your character and selfless service. On behalf of a very grateful nation, we are proud to welcome you as fellow American citizens.”
“I am truly honored to be a part of this event today,” said Navy Capt. Brent Canady, commander of the Essex, as he delivered the keynote address. “It is fitting that we should conduct this ceremony aboard a U.S. Navy ship and allow you to become citizens of the greatest country ever formed on this piece of sovereign U.S. soil.”
The parents of Brian Ortega Santos, 17, who was born in the Philippines, were very happy that he was able to receive his certificate of citizenship as the child of a member of the military. On June 22, he turns 18, and then he would not have been eligible to acquire citizenship through his U.S. citizen parent.
The new citizens hail from the following 17 nations: Belize; Canada; China; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Estonia; Ghana; Guatemala; Guyana; Jamaica; Korea; Liberia; Mexico; Nepal; Nicaragua; Philippines; and Russia.
USS Essex is the lead ship of the only forward-deployed U.S. Amphibious Ready Group and serves as the flagship for CTF 76, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with a detachment in Sasebo, Japan.