FORT JACKSON, S.C. – On the day before they graduate from Army basic training, 52 Soldiers today became citizens of the United States during a ceremony here. Today’s ceremony is one of many being held during “Military Appreciation Month” to recognize members of the military and their families.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducted the special naturalization ceremony during basic training Family Day activities to allow the 1,000-plus family members and fellow recruits to observe the proceedings.
Before administering the Oath of Allegiance, Rosemary Langley Melville, Acting Southeast Regional Director for USCIS addressed the audience by saying, “As you hear these Soldiers recite the Oath of Allegiance, please remember all the men and women in uniform who dedicate themselves to serving our country. Their service helps make ceremonies like today’s possible.”
As the new citizens received their naturalization certificates, they were treated to a special musical presentation of patriotic songs, including “Proud to Be an American," written and performed by Eric Horner. The Family Day activities also included tactical military demonstrations with spectacular smoke displays and explosive simulations.
USCIS and the Army established the Naturalization at Basic Training Initiative to give non-citizen enlistees the opportunity to naturalize at the completion of basic training. Since September 2001, USCIS has naturalized more than 58,300 members of the military, including those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The soldiers naturalized at the Fort Jackson ceremony hail from the following 35 countries: Bahrain, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Korea, Somalia, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, and Vietnam.
USCIS established a toll-free military help line, 1-877-CIS-4MIL (1-877-247-4645), and e-mail service, email@example.com, exclusively for members of the military and their families. Additional information about USCIS and our support of the military is available online athttp://www.uscis.gov/military.