Reservists in American Samoa become naturalized citizens

| November 7, 2014 | 0 Comments

 

Command Sgt. Maj. Jaybee Obusan,  9th Mission Support Command Army Reserve Soldiers repeat the Oath of Allegiance during the naturalization ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Hall, Oct. 27.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jaybee Obusan,
9th Mission Support Command
Army Reserve Soldiers repeat the Oath of Allegiance during the naturalization ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Hall, Oct. 27.

 

Soldiers of 9th MSC recognized for honorable service

 

Capt. Liana Kim
9th Mission Support Public Affairs

 

TAFUNA, American Samoa — Excited chatter filled the room as government officials, service members and their families crowded into the Veterans Memorial Hall, Oct. 27.

It was to be a day that would forever change the lives of 47 Soldiers and their families.

For the second time ever, a naturalization ceremony, here, recognized members of the armed forces who were born in American Samoa for serving honorably and meeting the other requirements to become U.S. citizens.

“Today is a proud moment for our local heroes, for they gain the privilege of becoming United States citizens,” said American Samoa Lt. Gov. Lamanu Peleti Mauga, former Army Reservist of the 9th Mission Support Command. “Today they will experience a true sense of belonging and acceptance by the greatest country in the world, for they have pledged their allegiance and they have sworn to protect its values and civil liberties.”

In unison, the Soldiers stood at attention, right hands raised, as they pledged the Oath of Allegiance. When they took their seats, they were America’s newest citizens.

“From singing the National Anthem to the Pledge of Allegiance, to the shout-off of the Army Song, I was moved by the whole program, and wished my children were here to see this happening,” said Sgt. Doris Pulu, one of the naturalized Soldiers. “I was nervous reciting back the Oath and listening to the President of the United States followed by that song, and was so touched that I cried.”

Becoming a citizen is no small feat, said Col. Twanda Young, commander, U.S. Army Reserve Theater Support Group-Pacific, representing the 9th MSC.

“I am proud to serve in your ranks, filled by great men and women. You are courageous, confident, competent and compassionate,” said Young. “It’s an honor to be a part of the memories you will form today and share with your families for years to come. ‘Fa’afetai. Pride of the Pacific!’”

“Another exciting first, we processed applications for Soldiers who had claims to citizenship through one of their parents,” said Capt. Puletasi Wong-Mageo, executive officer, American Samoa Detachment, who helped the 47 warriors from four Army Reserve units in American Samoa (the 411th Engineer Battalion Forward Support Company, Bravo and Charlie Companies of the 100th Infantry Battalion, and the 962nd Quartermaster Detachment) with the naturalization process.

“The two million of us in uniform, less than 1 percent of our population, are the force that stands between our way of life and chaos, between those who would hurt our homeland and the defense of our families, homes and the security of our country,” said Col. Mike Seguin, commander, American Samoa Detachment.

“You are what is right and good in the world. … You are willing to give your lives to protect your tribe, and you have a stake in the health and security of the United States, because you are Americans and this is your home,” Seguin added.

As exuberant families, friends and fellow Soldiers cheered and yelled out their traditional Polynesian call, the new citizens received a certificate signed by the director of U.S. Citizenship Immigration Service.

“The people of American Samoa are so very kind, happy and hospitable; they go out of their way to help you,” said Leung. “The men and women serving in our armed forces play a critical role in protecting our freedom and representing the democratic principles of the United States of America, and it was an honor to serve these Soldiers throughout their naturalization journey.”

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