October 21, 2009 > Divina Galang
By Simon Wong
Hayward resident and member of the Army National Guard Divina Gracia S. Galang became a US citizen aboard USS Green Bay (LPD 20), moored at San Francisco Pier 30/32, Embarcadero, on Monday, October 12.
Galang and a dozen other military personnel took their oath of citizenship at 11 a.m. on the Upper Vehicle Deck of the vessel which is part of the bay parade that signals the start of the US Navy's annual San Francisco Fleet Week celebration. New citizens hail from the Philippines (3), Mexico (3), Indonesia, China, Nicaragua and Poland. Military services represented at the ceremony were Army, Army National Guard, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard.
Naturalization brings the opportunity to vote and improved prospects for the 40 year-old and has been swift. She came to the US in late 2007, worked as a restaurant waitress and is now with Taco Bell. She is also studying to be a medical assistant at Heald College. The GI Bill covers her education. She might consider becoming a registered nurse when her current studies are over.
She joined the National Guard in July 2008, partly for adventure, and completed basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and advanced training at Fort Lee, Virginia, in July 2009. She filed her naturalization papers when advanced training finished and became an American citizen this month. Moreover, the armed services cover the cost of naturalization. If military personnel are on active duty, naturalization can take as little as three days.
Galang, an Automated Logistical Specialist with Golf Company 40th BSB (fires), based in Richmond, California, will now apply for officer training. Officer school is open to US citizens only.
"All my relations, including my mother and sister are here, so we're a family again. America is the land of opportunity, economic opportunity. The prospects are good here," Galang said happily.