Air Commandos earn citizenship

USAF: Airman 1st Class Xavier Lockley Three Air Commandos earned their U.S. citizenship during a ceremony Feb. 16 at the Landing Zone at Cannon Air Force Base. Individuals must normally wait five years before applying to become a U.S. citizen, however, if they are serving in the armed forces during a time of war that requirement can be waived.

By Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal: 27th SOW Public Affairs

Three Air Commandos earned their U.S. citizenship at a ceremony held Feb. 16 at The Landing Zone at Cannon Air Force Base.

Airman 1st Class Jose Silva-Cruz, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron, Airman 1st Class Cheng Bi, 27th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron and Airman 1st Class Giselle Wells, 27 SOCES, all became American citizens in the presence of their leadership and loved ones.

“I am so proud of them and this monumental accomplishment,” said Master Sgt. Sheronne King, 27 SOCES 1st Sgt. “This is just one of the rewards these amazing young airmen are receiving for their military service.”

Peter Rechkemmer, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service information service officer, administered the oaths which granted the three Air Commandos their naturalized citizenship.

Individuals must normally wait five years before applying to become a U.S. citizen, however, if they are serving in the armed forces during a time of war that requirement can be waived.

Silva-Cruz was born in Mexico. He grew up in Las Vegas, Nev., and decided at a young age that he wanted to join the Air Force. He has been on active duty more than a year.

“I always remember visiting Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., when I was younger and thinking of how honorable the men and women serving our country are,” said Silva-Cruz. “I have a lot of pride toward what I am a part of here under Air Force Special Operations Command and with the Air Force.”

Bi is originally from Beijing, China. She lived in San Antonio, Texas, for six years where she met her husband, who was already actively serving in the U.S. Air Force. She is ten months into her service and both are currently working as vehicle maintenance specialists at Cannon.

“This journey is very important to me for this simple fact that in order to reenlist, I must be a citizen,” said Bi. “My husband and I love what we are doing for the Air Force and want to continue serving together.”

Wells spent the earlier years of her life in Jamaica. She moved to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in December 2006 and has been actively serving in the Air Force for two years as a structural apprentice.

“My dream was to travel and ultimately become an air traffic controller,” said Wells. “I didn’t realize that you had to be a citizen to land that career but that didn’t set me back, it motivated me. Anything is possible if you have faith, and the Air Force is like a family that truly takes care of its own.”