YOKOSUKA, Japan -- The Honorable Rahm Emanuel, U.S. ambassador to Japan, visited with the crew of the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) while the ship was pierside at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Feb. 17.
During Emanuel’s time on Ronald Reagan, he toured the ship’s spaces, interacted with Sailors, and served as the keynote speaker during a naturalization ceremony held in the ship’s forecastle.
At the naturalization ceremony, 17 candidates from 11 different countries became U.S. citizens. Emanuel, Rear Adm. Carl Lahti, commander, Naval Forces Japan, as well as family members and selected guests, witnessed the Oath of Allegiance pledge and presentation of naturalization certificates.
During his keynote address, Emanuel discussed the importance of diversity and how his visit to Ronald Reagan showcased America at its best.
“This ship derives its strength from the diversity of Sailors and families working a common purpose as one,” said Emanuel. “America at its best is captured here on the Ronald Reagan.”
The naturalization process began months in advance when the service members and spouses met all basic requirements for citizenship under special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). From there, they took and passed an exam on U.S. history and the Constitution administered by U.S. and Immigration Services (USCIS), and completed their journey towards citizenship aboard Ronald Reagan.
As a son of an immigrant, Emanuel emphasized the importance of inspiring others who may desire to become American citizens one day.
“There are people around the world who aspire to follow you in your footsteps. You and your families are the future,” said Emanuel.
Since 2002, the U.S. has naturalized more than 148,000 members of the military, both at home and abroad. Naturalization ceremonies have taken place in more than 30 countries. In the past five years, more than 4,500 Sailors have become naturalized U.S. citizens.
“We are very excited for the men and women who became American citizens today,” said Capt. Fred Goldhammer, Ronald Reagan’s commanding officer. “The crew of Ronald Reagan was honored to welcome Ambassador Emanuel onboard and to showcase the tremendous work Americans accomplish every day with our Japanese partners, whether while at sea or inport, to help preserve peace and regional stability. Ambassador Emanuel’s visit helps emphasize the importance of the U.S. Navy’s role in Japan, and our nation’s commitment to ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the United States, and supports alliances, partnerships, and collective maritime interests in the Indo-Pacific Region.