Two mighty 97th Airmen become American citizens

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christopher Toon
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Two Airmen from the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron here became American citizens when they took the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance in Oklahoma City Dec. 15.

Airman 1st Class Andre Hulse, originally from San Ignacio Belize, is a water fuels maintenance journeyman and Airman 1st Class Kyle Hacker, born in Johannesburg, South Africa, serves as a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning apprentice.

The requirements for these two Airmen to become citizens included honorable service in the military, lawful permanent residency, proficiency in the English language and American civics, good character, and attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

"With the military you just fill out a couple of forms as accurately as possible, and turn them in to personnel," Airman Hulse said they pretty much took it from there. It was a pretty simple process; it took about three to four months.

When he received his acceptance letter, Airman Hulse said he felt changed.
"It's great, it feels complete, it feels like I'm fully part of the team," Airman Hulse said.

With his new country and life ahead of him, Airman Hulse said he has no regrets.

"I wouldn't say I'm leaving anything behind, just going on to a new chapter. Airman Hulse said I would say when I was a child I was under someone else's rule doing what they thought was best for me at the time, but now as an adult, I'm making my own choices and molding my life for what I want it to be. This is the right choice for me."

Now that Airman Hacker is an American citizen, he's hoping to continue his service in the military and expand his education.

"I would like to get my bachelors done before my first enlistment is done and try and get commissioned and do 20 years that way and retire as an officer," Airman Hacker said.

"I'm extremely proud of Kyle," said Timothy Condon, Airman Hacker's supervisor. It's a big step in his life and a big decision to make. It's obviously a very difficult decision to change your citizenship and put yourself out there, that the next time you want to go home... you would have to get a visa. I'm very, very proud of him and very honored to be a part of this ceremony.