USAG Bavaria welcomes 22 new US citizens during naturalization ceremony
The 22 candidates take the Oath of Allegiance during the naturalization ceremony on June 29, 2022, in the Tower View Conference Center. (Photo Credit: Natalie Simmel) VIEW ORIGINAL

GRAFENWHOER, Germany — Twenty-two members of the USAG Bavaria community were sworn in as American citizens during a virtual naturalization ceremony on June 29 at the Tower View Conference Center. The ceremony, part of a special program to naturalize active duty military members and their families, welcomed the individuals from 12 different countries as new citizens of the United States.

Following the National Anthem, sung by Jamie Patterson, the Oath of Allegiance was virtually conducted by Eloris James, Immigration Services Officer from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Office.

“Thank you all for your service and your commitment to the U.S.,” said James. “To become a soldier before becoming a US citizen is an incredible act of patriotism and selflessness. Thank you very much for your service and commitment to our nation.”

USAG Bavaria welcomes 22 new US citizens during naturalization ceremony
Eloris James, Immigration Services Officer from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Office, is virtually conducting the Oath of Alliance on June 29, 2022, during the naturalization ceremony at Tower Barracks. (Photo Credit: Natalie Simmel) VIEW ORIGINAL

The ceremony was concluded with garrison commander Col. Christopher R. Danbeck distributing the certificates of naturalization to America’s newest citizens.

“America’s strength does not only lie in its armed forces or its economy as much as in the hearts and minds of its people – good people, of strong character. People like the 22 of you,” said Danbeck, congratulating the new citizens. “Today, you become a part of something great – America. And today, America becomes greater and more complete because of you. Please enrich all of our lives with your past experiences because we have a lot to learn from all of you. Congratulations and welcome my new fellow citizens.”

The new US Citizens originally come from Belize, Benin, Cameroon, China, Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Jamaica, Kenya, Haiti, Mexico, Nepal, the Philippines, South Korea, and Venezuela. Currently, the candidates are stationed at garrisons across Germany, including Grafenwoehr, Vilseck, Hohenfels and Illesheim/Ansbach. Additionally, one candidate even traveled to the ceremony from Poland.

Pfc. Bryant Castellanos from Venezuela had been anticipating this moment since he was a boy, saying that “I feel very happy! I have been in the U.S. since I have been twelve years old. I am really happy I could become a U.S citizen and I am proud to be able to serve this country.”

Spc. Henry Shaquelle, originating from Jamaica, said ”I am excited and overwhelmed with emotions. It’s really amazing to become a citizen of the greatest nation. This here today shows that you can achieve anything you want. You just have to work hard and be dedicated.”

You can view a video recordings of the ceremony on Facebook here.

Photos of the event can be viewed here.