News: Three new U.S. citizens naturalized in the Army
Story by Cpl. Dong-weon Kim
DAEGU, South Korea – One soldier and two military spouses took the oath of allegiance and became U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony held at Camp Henry on Sept. 9.
This year’s naturalization ceremony was the 3rd annual ceremony held in the southern region of the Korean Theater of Operations, otherwise known as Area IV. The first naturalization ceremony occurred in 2010 as a combined event across South Korea with 11 soldiers and one family member attaining U.S. citizenship. One soldier from Area IV received naturalization in last year’s ceremony.
Col. Jimmy. M. Bradford, United States Army Garrison (USAG) - Daegu Commander, expressed congratulatory remarks in his speech at this glorious event.
“Thank you for your love of the nation that you have wanted to become an American citizen. You are what makes this country great and represent the very ideas and characteristics that would make our founding fathers proud. I know your family is extremely proud of you as well, but I want you to know from all of us that we are proud of you.” said Bradford.
Citizens have been taking the oath of allegiance ever since May 30, 1778 at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War. The strength of diversity has led the U.S. to become a great country. Gatherings such as the nationalization ceremony enable the force to support and defend the constitution and strengthen alliances with neighboring nations.
Candidates of this year’s naturalization ceremony represented three countries: The Republic of Korea, Jamaica and Brazil. Pvt. Ginez Bonillo, Mrs. Latisha Campbell and Mrs. Hyekyung West were the three candidates.
Bonillo had a big smile throughout the ceremony. He has served in the military for nearly and year and has lived in the United States for more than 19 years. He expressed that the United States has always felt like home to him.
“This day is very special for me. I love the United States, and it is an honor to be called as a U.S. citizen. It has been something I have been waiting for a while.” said the 36th Signal Battalion, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Specialist.
As for Campbell, spouse of Sgt. Robert Jones, she shared a comment of encouragement to future candidates looking forward to naturalization.
“For those pursuing naturalization, do not give up and keep seeking ways if it is something you have always wanted.” said Campbell.
Brig. Gen. Stephen E. Farmen, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command (ESC) commanding general, delivered words to the three candidates during the ceremony.
“I would like to congratulate and thank our new citizens for their individual commitment to our nation and our nation’s constitution. Our three citizens have earned a perfect equality of rights today. Together it is incumbent upon all of us to secure those rights from here forward into eternity.” said Brig. Gen. Stephen E. Farmen.
According to the new naturalized citizens, attaining citizenship was truly one of the most humbling events of their lives. For each of them, their journey and their dreams may be different and yet in many ways the same. Their service and support to the Army, the Army family and to the United States are recognized.