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18 Marines from more than a dozen nations become U.S. Citizens aboard the U.S.S. North Carolina

Marines Naturalization.jpg
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Timothy Fowler)
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U.S. Marines from 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, stand at attention during a naturalization ceremony aboard the Battleship USS North Carolina, Dec. 2, 2022. 18 Marines from 15 countries and five continents swore the Oath of Allegiance and received their citizenship. Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen after he or she fulfills the requirements to become a citizen established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.

The largest naturalization ceremony in the Marines took place earlier this month aboard the USS North Carolina, and a Marine who was naturalized last year called the occasion a significant one.

Officials said 18 Marines took the Oath of Allegiance earlier this month, the last step in becoming a U.S. citizen. These marines represented 14 countries, including China, Haiti, Italy and Guatemala.

Corporal Nicolas Lowiza shared his experience when he became a citizen in Nov. 2021.

“I felt fulfilled. I felt happiness. I felt joy," he said, "I felt that I finally achieved what I always dreamt of as a kid.”

Members of the armed services can apply for citizenship after their first 180 days of service, which is usually when they check in to their first unit, and thanks to their military service, they can apply for expedited processing.

Ryan is an Arkansas native and podcast junkie. He was first introduced to public radio during an internship with his hometown NPR station, KUAF. Ryan is a graduate of Tufts University in Somerville, Mass., where he studied political science and led the Tufts Daily, the nation’s smallest independent daily college newspaper. In his spare time, Ryan likes to embroider, attend musicals, and spend time with his fiancée and two cats.