Fort Carson ACS honors newest citizens
February 27, 2014
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- It was a ceremony honoring 135 community members who became naturalized American citizens on the Mountain Post in 2013 to include Soldiers, Airmen, military retirees and Family members.
The Annual Naturalization Recognition Ceremony Feb. 20 at McMahon Auditorium provided a special thanks from the Army to the new citizens for their accomplishment, said Patricia Randle, director of Fort Carson Army Community Service.
"I read earlier today a quote, and it said this: 'In a world of war and terrorism, American citizenship is a very precious possession.' I believe that your journey for citizenship gives testament to the fact that you know and value just how precious this citizenship is to all of us," Randle said in her speech.
Since 2009, Fort Carson ACS has worked with the Denver Field Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to assist members of the military community in becoming citizens. This includes hosting monthly sessions with immigration officers and prospective citizens on post.
Randle said this is a service ACS does for the military installations in the area.
Each year, up to 250 individuals have become citizens through this service.
"Our agency recognizes the immense sacrifices made by our servicemembers and their Families -- along with the entire community that supports those efforts," said Andrew Lambrecht, director of the Denver field office. "We want to thank you for your partnership in helping make citizenship a reality and a very valuable gift to these individuals."
Prior to presenting the naturalized citizens with certificates, Col. David Grosso, Fort Carson garrison commander, addressed them and their Families.
"You've not only joined a great nation," Grosso said. "You've also joined the greatest generation who has served its country in the time of war.
"There was a great American president, Theodore Roosevelt, who said the credit belongs to the men and women who are in the arena whose faces are marred by sweat and dust. (They) know the great victories by striving to persevere and achieve.
"I think he was talking about all of you for having taken this important step."
But for Tiona Biggs, the event carried a somber reality. Her husband, Pfc. Jermain Biggs, who sat on the stage as one of the honored Soldiers will be leaving soon for Afghanistan. Their two boys, Taevon, 6, and Jayvhon, 3, sat next to her in the audience -- excited in hearing their father?'s name and clapping wildly.
"It's going to be hard," Tiona Biggs said. "I am going to pray a lot. I am not used to him being away. We have two little boys … I just want my husband to be safe."
Jermain Biggs, 28, is an infantryman assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. He and his wife both came from Jamaica, met each other and married in the United States seven years ago. She completed her citizenship in 2011. Jermain Biggs worked as a carpenter prior to joining the Army last year.
And it wasn't Family members alone in the audience. The entire squad of Soldiers that Jermain is preparing to deploy with was there as well.
"We just wanted to support our teammate," said Sgt. Franklin McNally, squad leader, 1st Bn., 12th Inf. Reg. "Bringing Pfc. Biggs back home safely from Afghanistan to his wife and boys, well that's my job.
"We have to go so we can get some training in before it gets dark," McNally said abruptly. Looking at his watch, he rounded up his Soldiers and left the auditorium -- he didn't even let them eat a piece of cake.
"This is something we have to deal with," Jermain Biggs said of his wife?'s angst about the deployment. "There are good things about it and there are bad things. We have to take it all together. I know she is worried -- but it means a lot to us to see my squad members' support.
"It tells both me and my wife that they have my back."