Gacad and Manaog took the naturalization oath of allegiance with the help of more than 16 civilian judge advocates, lawyers and paralegals from the U.S. Navy, located in three countries and at sea, and from the United States Navy’s Washington field office. United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS).
“I am proud and honored to be a part of this historic event,” said Manaog, who is assigned to Airborne Command and Control (VAW) Squadron 126. “Our names will be in the history books.”
Gacad, who is assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 211, also expressed his joy at reaching this milestone on his journey to citizenship.
“I am very happy after this long process,” said Gacad. “I can finally say that I am proud to be an American.”
Gacad began the process to become a citizen in March 2021. However, he had to postpone his naturalization due to the planned deployment.
“USCIS reached out to the Navy to see if there was anything we could do to have a naturalization ceremony while we were deployed and that got us thinking, ‘Can this happen?'” “Said Lt. Cmdr. Kyle Doherty-Peters, judge advocate for Truman’s command. “The biggest challenges are that the naturalization oath ceremony must be conducted live with authorized USCIS personnel and that certificates of naturalization must be physically on board the vessel in time for the ceremony and marked with the correct information. We knew that virtual ceremonies overseas were taking place on land with the assistance of regional legal services offices, so we began working through our logistical and technical challenges to have the ceremony take place while deployed at sea.”
After months of meticulous planning and preparation, Gacad and Manaog’s journey to citizenship finally came true aboard the Truman. In early September, their naturalization certificates were collected from the USCIS field office in Washington by a Washington, D.C.-based judge advocate, who flew on the ship and hand-delivered the documents as Truman operated underway. in the Atlantic Ocean. On the day of the ceremony, two USCIS personnel traveled to the Pentagon to connect to the Truman for a virtual teleconference.
During the virtual ceremony, the keynote speaker, Rear Adm. Paul Spedero Jr., commander of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8, spoke about the journey Sailors take to become American citizens.
“Most of us here today were born Americans,” Spedero said. “Our citizenship was a gift we received. But your citizenship is earned. You have earned the right to be called Americans through your service in this country. You have proven yourself to be Americans in these many months deployed with all of us to do this nation’s work in defense of American ideals abroad.
After the ceremony, Gacad and Manaog expressed their gratitude for all the help they received.
“The Navy is a team,” Gacad said. “You will never feel alone because there is always someone to help you when you need it. Without the legal team, I would not be in this position, and I want to say thank you for all their hard work.
This event also marks the first time a naturalization ceremony has been held on a deployed aircraft carrier.
“The fact that Master Gacad and Master Manaog can jump ship on American soil as American citizens when we return home is phenomenal,” said Captain Gavin Duff, Truman’s commanding officer. “In 2022, the fact that we have the ability to conduct this ceremony virtually and provide them with this opportunity is humbling to say the least. It was a community effort to help these awesome sailors achieve their dream and become citizens of the country they so proudly served. We look forward to their success and accomplishments in their future as Americans.
Truman is the flagship of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG); additional elements include the nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, commanded by Captain Patrick Hourigan; the staff and guided missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 28 commanded by Captain Blair Guy; and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56), commanded by Captain Christopher Marvin.
The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group currently operates in the Atlantic Ocean in support of naval operations to maintain maritime stability and security to provide access, deter aggression and defend the interests of states States, allies and partners.
For more information on the US 2nd Fleet visit https://www.c2f.navy.mil/ and for more information visit http://www.facebook.com/US2ndFleet/ or http://twitter .com/US2ndFleet.
For more information on Truman, visit www.airlant.usff.navy.mil/cvn75/, ww.facebook.com/cvn75, www.twitter.com/ussharrystruman, or http://instagram.com/uss_harrys.truman