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    Naturalized Nimitz Sailor Moved to Serve

    Naturalized Nimitz Sailor Moved to Serve

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Walters | Chief Hospital Corpsman Kleinne V. Lapid poses for a photo.... read more read more

    "I went to school in Angeles City. It was 10 minutes away from the former Clark Air Base," said Chief Hospital Corpsman Kleinne V. Lapid, a dental hygienist aboard Nimitz. "I was used to seeing Americans as a young child, but I did not fully understand what they did in our country. When I was 11 years old, Mount Pinatubo erupted and debilitated my province's infrastructures and economic growth. The Americans did everything to help my countrymen in relief and rescue operations. I was in awe of their selflessness and sacrifices. I can still remember clearly the events happening that day - big trucks here and there, men and women in camouflage uniforms and the presence of hope amid the chaos. I knew right there and then, I wanted to join the military."

    Inspired by the efforts of the U.S. servicemembers in the aftermath of Pinatubo, Lapid said she dreamed of what it would be like to go to America and join the military. For eight years the thought rested constantly on her mind, until finally the opportunity came calling for her and her family.

    "My Dad made the sacrifice of going to the U.S. to get his citizenship, and eventually, we moved there," said Lapid. "I was 19 when we moved to San Diego. My parents always wanted a better life for my brothers and I since we were young, as any parents would for their children. They always put high quality education above everything else. My motivation was to have a better future for all of us."

    Lapid arrived in sunny Southern California with the dream of joining the military still present on her mind, and it didn't take long for her to start making her dream a reality.

    "We arrived in the U.S. July 26, 1999," said Lapid. "Sept. 27, 1999, I joined the Navy."

    In order to enlist in the U.S. military, a non-citizen must legally reside in the U.S. and possess an Immigration and Naturalization Service Alien Registration Card, be between the ages of 17 and 35, meet the mental, moral and physical standards for enlistment, and be able to speak, read and write English fluently.

    Lapid met the standards, and as she gained traction in her new career in the Navy, she learned about the many opportunities afforded to her as a servicemember, one being the chance to obtain U.S. citizenship.

    "Back then, you had to wait three years from the day you join before you could apply for citizenship," said Lapid. "I waited a bit longer because in my third year of service, I was in Basic X-ray School and had follow-on orders to Field Medical Service School, so I wasn't able to process my citizenship at the time.

    As Lapid forged on in her Navy career as a hospital corpsman, she put gaining her citizenship high on her priority list.

    "I remember saving up for the fees and passport applications," said Lapid. "I asked the people from my command to help me fill out my application. I am forever grateful to those who took the time in assisting me."

    Almost four years after arriving in the U.S. and joining the Navy, Lapid obtained her U.S. citizenship, and today she's paying it forward by assisting others in the process.

    "Becoming a U.S. citizen meant that, even though I had been serving in the Navy for about four years at the time, it was finally official," said Lapid. "When I was offered the opportunity to help other Sailors, I signed up to assist them in getting their citizenship by reviewing their forms and also to be there to provide additional information they'd need to complete the process. I know that obtaining their citizenship means a lot to them just like it did to me."

    Nimitz is currently deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. While in the region, the ship and strike group are conducting maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners, preserve freedom of navigation, and maintain the free flow of commerce.

    For more news from Nimitz Strike Group, visit

    For more information on obtaining citizenship through the U.S. armed forces, visit

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    For more news from Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, visit



    Date Taken: 09.18.2017
    Date Posted: 12.27.2017 23:38
    Story ID: 260390
    Location: US

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