GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- The spouse of a military physician assistant reached a milestone in her life when she raised her right hand to become a United States citizen during a naturalization ceremony at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (GTMO), Cuba, Dec. 14.
Shoko Pukish, who was born in Okinawa, Japan, became one of the approximately 680,000 immigrants each year who become U.S. citizens during the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) naturalization ceremonies held throughout the United States and the world.
Pukish becomes the second non-military person to be naturalized at GTMO and the third overall.
Adijatu Abiose, the USCIS Field Office Director for the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica, administered the Oath of Allegiance to Pukish.
"U.S. citizenship is the highest immigrant benefit possible," Abiose said. "It is always a pleasure, always an honor to render this status, this benefit on individuals. It's even more meaningful on U.S. military bases."
After the ceremony, Pukish and her husband of seven years, Lt. Cmdr. Nick Pukish, both spoke about this achievement.
"This is an unbelievable great day for me today," she said. "I don't need to tell all of you that America is a nation of immigrants, and that diversity is what makes this country great. I am grateful to be a part of it and to be called an American."
Nick Pukish, a Physician Assistant at U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay, said that he was blessed and grateful that he came from the United States and that he has had the opportunity to serve in the greatest and most powerful Navy in the world.
"If it wasn't for the U.S. Navy, my country and what she stands for, and the opportunity it offers,I would not be standing here before you today with such a wonderful partner as Shoko," he said. Nor would I now be able to call her a fellow American."
For GTMO residents looking for their opportunity to become U.S. citizens, it is important to gather relevant information, said Abiose.
"I think you should be inquiring and asking questions," said Abiose. "U.S. laws and policies are very sympathetic, very flexible and available to active service, retired and their family members for naturalization."
For more information, go to the USCIS website at www.USCIS.gov. GTMO residents can also send their questions by email to Abiose's office in Kingston at email@example.com. Abiose's office is responsible for Guantanamo Bay.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay, visit www.navy.mil/local/nhgb/.