YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) – USS Shiloh (CG 67) held a flag raising ceremony, Apr. 28, to celebrate Culinary Specialist Seaman Ayaba Amouzou and two Navy spouses on becoming U.S. citizens.
"I come from a small city in a small country; Togo, West Africa. There was very high unemployment there and I had to take care of myself," said Amouzou. "Through the State Department’s lottery program, I obtained a green card to come to the United States in 2013."
Amouzou settled in Lawrenceville, Georgia where she worked in a factory, and later decided to join the U.S. Navy as a better opportunity for herself.
After attending Navy boot camp and culinary specialist "A" school, she reported to her first duty station aboard the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh.
Amouzou officially became a U.S. citizen during a naturalization ceremony at the Chapel of Hope, in Yokosuka, Japan, Apr. 27. The ceremony included 27 total personnel who completed the requirements to become U.S. citizens.
"I joined the Navy and passed my citizenship test all by myself," she said. "I am very proud to be a United States citizen."
Non-U.S. citizen Sailors who become U.S. citizens gain increased opportunities in the Navy. Officer commissioning programs, the right to vote, and issuance of a security clearance, first require citizenship.
"It is stories like these [Amouzou’s journey to citizenship] that make up the lifeblood of America," said Capt. Adam Aycock, Shiloh’s commanding officer. "New immigrants like Amouzou make our ship stronger, our Navy stronger, and our country stronger. I am proud to serve with her in Shiloh."
Shiloh is forward-deployed in Japan in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.