YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Cheers and applause filled U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka's Chapel of Hope Mar. 22 as four Sailors and seven spouses became U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony.
Family and friends witnessed the candidates, representing eight different countries, take their final step toward becoming U.S. citizens.
Airman Apprentice Billie Ross, born in Ghana, led the Pledge of Allegiance during the ceremony. Ross, an Aviation Boatswain's Mate aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), explained that she worked towards her citizenship over the past year.
"It means a lot to become a citizen because I'm already serving," said Ross.
The diverse group represented the nations of the Philippines, Mexico, Sudan, Ghana, Brazil, Haiti, Japan and Jamaica. The candidates had to meet several eligibility requirements which included skill in the English language and knowledge of American history and government.
"It's very exciting, it's an honor to be here," said Thiersy Cassano a military spouse from Lorena, Brazil who became a citizen during the ceremony. Cassano attended the event with her family.
"It might seem strange that I'm standing here on sovereign Japanese soil, welcoming you to America," said the ceremony keynote speaker, Commander Ryan T. Easterday. "But America is more than just a place, and it's more than just a people. It's more than an idea. It's a conversation. It's a conversation between 325 million people who don't agree on anything except they are Americans...welcome to the conversation, I hope you make the best of it."
For more news from Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, visit .