GROTON, Conn. – In recognition of Military Appreciation Month and Memorial Day, Naval Submarine Base New London personnel participated in multiple events around the community May 24-27.

Recognition events included a special naturalization ceremony, the annual Ledyard Memorial Day Parade, Memorial Day ceremonies at New Haven Green and New Haven Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and a Patriotic Concert at the Lyman Auditorium in New Haven, Connecticut.

During the naturalization ceremony hosted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), 22 people including military service members and military family members became American citizens.

Capt. Todd Moore, commanding officer, Naval Submarine Base New London, welcomed participants and guests to the annual ceremony held at the Historic Ship Nautilus and Submarine Force Museum

"This morning with boldness and courage you, our Nation’s newest citizens will begin the first chapter in your lives as Americans," said Moore. "I look forward to the continuing contributions everyone, especially our newest citizens will make in support of the greatest Nation on earth, our United States of America!"

United States Magistrate Judge Sarah A. L. Merriam administered the Oath of Allegiance to America's newest citizens.

The candidates come from 16 countries, which included Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Jamaica, Nigeria, Pakistan, People’s Republic of China, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Spain, Thailand and United Kingdom.

One of the new U.S. citizens was Hospitalman Bradley Whittle who is assigned to Naval Branch Health Clinic Groton.

Whittle, a native of the United Kingdom, said he wanted to become an American citizen after joining the U.S. Navy.

"Joining the military is always something I wanted to do even after I moved here, and becoming a citizen is just something I wanted to do on top of that," said Whittle. "If I’m going to serve in the United States military I might as well be a United States citizen too."

Whittle said it felt amazing after all of his hard work preparing to become to citizen to finally take the oath.

"It’s been a long time coming and I’m glad I can finally get citizenship," added Whittle.

To highlight the importance of U.S. citizenship, USCIS often participates in special ceremonies at venues such as museums and schools to increase public awareness of the U.S. citizenship process.

In fiscal year 2018, USCIS welcomed over 750,000 citizens during naturalization ceremonies across the United States and around the world including approximately 10,000 in Connecticut.

Connecticut Media Group