HUMPHREYS GARRISON, South Korea - Twenty-nine service members, spouses and dependents took the Oath of Allegiance to become U.S. citizens at military naturalization ceremony held at the New Post Theater, Garrison Humphreys, June 28.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have naturalized more than 92,000 members of the military including 11,000 who received their citizenship overseas since 2002.
Donald Monica, district director Asia/Pacific began the ceremony with his opening remarks.
"It is my honor to present 29 candidates for naturalization from 14 different countries. Each of these candidates has been examined by U.S. CIS officer and has been found to be of good moral character and attached to principles of the Constitution of the United States. Each of them has been found to be eligible and every respect for United States citizenship."
Jennifer Higgins, Association Director, Refugee, Asylum and International Operation of the USCIS then recited the Oath of Allegiance with the candidates.
Maj. Gen. Viet X. Luong, Eighth Army deputy commanding general of operations who emigrated from Vietnam, shared his story of becoming a U.S. citizen over 40 years ago. Luong said his family had a hard time when they first came to U.S.
"Liberty and freedom aside, this was not the American dream we had envisioned," Luong said.
Luong said, despite the early challenges, he is still very proud of being an American citizen, and that it is his honor to serve America.
"I would tell you that our success was predicated on numerous factors, but truly rested on a single fact, and that's being an American. I am an American by choice and not by birth, and I have chosen to serve this great nation as a 9-year-old kid in 1975 aboard the U.S.S. Hancock, because I believe in everything this country stands for," Luong told the audience.
One of the new U.S. citizens, Pfc. Liu Xin said he became a U.S. citizen because of the opportunities America offered.
"I think there is more opportunity, and I wanted to change my life to see some difference. That is why I decided to become U.S. citizen, and become U.S. Army."
The ceremony was marked by a video from the Commander in Chief.
"No matter where you come from, or what faith you practice, this country is now your country," said President Donald J. Trump via the video message. "Our history is now your history, and our traditions are now your traditions. You enjoy the full rights and the sacred duties that come with American citizenship."
The new U.S. citizens recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and each received a naturalization certificate.