the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

Search form

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Background on Naturalization Ceremony for Service Members

President Obama will deliver remarks at a naturalization ceremony for 24 members of the United States Armed Forces. This ceremony recognizes the contributions made by immigrant members of the U.S. armed forces who have earned their American citizenship through service to our country, and the contributions immigrants from all walks of life have made to our country throughout its history.

Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the Department of Homeland Security, will present the home countries of the candidates for citizenship, and Secretary Janet Napolitano will administer the oath of citizenship.

President Obama will then present Sergeant Ledum Ndaanee, U.S. Marine Corps (E-5) with the Outstanding American by Choice recognition, which highlights the outstanding achievements of naturalized U.S. citizens.

The audience will be composed of service members and their families as well as veterans.

The President led a similar naturalization ceremony in the East Room last year, to view click HERE.

Biography of Sergeant Ledum Ndaanee, U.S. Marine Corps (E-5), recipient of the Outstanding American by Choice recognition:

Sergeant (Sgt.) Ledum D. Ndaanee was born in Nigeria on May 2, 1982. At the age of 16, he moved to the United States with his family, settling in Richmond, VA. After attending a local community college, Sgt. Ndaanee had his heart set on serving his new country by joining the U.S. Marine Corps. He enlisted in September 2004.

Sgt. Ndaanee deployed to Iraq on two separate occasions with the 1st Battalion, 2d Marines in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On August 4, 2007, while assigned as a turret gunner conducting combat operations, he suffered a concussion and traumatic brain injury as the result of an improvised explosive device.

While recovering from his injuries at Wounded Warrior Battalion-East in Camp Lejeune, NC, Sgt. Ndaanee played a vital role in the recovery process of his fellow Marines and Sailors. He was instrumental in encouraging others to overcome their injuries by serving as a mentor. After recovering from his wounds, Sgt. Ndaanee achieved an important milestone in his life by becoming a U.S. citizen in November 2007.

Sgt. Ndaanee is currently serving as the non-commissioned Officer-in-Charge of the Warrior Athlete Reconditioning (WAR) Program’s Strength and Conditioning Team and is also a member of the aquatics team within Wounded Warrior Battalion-East. Over the course of his military career, Sgt. Ndaanee has been recognized with several honors including the Good Conduct Medal, Purple Heart Combat Action Ribbon, Iraq Campaign Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.

Service members becoming American citizens:

Michael Zach Armstrong, U.S. Army, England
Born in England, Armstrong entered the United States in 2002.  He enlisted in the Army in 2009 and currently serves in Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve as a PFC, E-3.

Lenard Canlas Belvis, U.S. Air Force Reserve, Philippines
Born in the Philippines, Belvis became a permanent United States resident in 2005.  In 2009, he enlisted in the Air Force Reserves and is currently a Senior Airman.

Tei Aristide Bislao, U.S. Navy, Togo
Born in Togo, Bislao came to the United States in 2002.  He enlisted in the Navy in 2009 and serves as an E-3.

Anthony Cabalerro, U.S. Navy, Spain
Born in Spain, Cabalerro graduated from Brooklyn Academy in 2005, and immediately enlisted in the Navy. Presently, he serves as an aviation fuel specialist with the rank of 3rd class Petty Officer.

Maria-Antonette Capio Cabantog, U.S. Air Force, Philippines
Born in the Philippines, Cabantog enlisted in the Air Force in 2008 and currently holds rank E-2 as a Services Apprentice.

Perla Conception Ramos de Chavira, U.S. Navy, Mexico
Born in Mexico, Chavira came to the United States in 2001 and in 2009 enlisted in the Navy and currently serves as an Aviation Machinist Mate.

Rommel Cruz Cuenco, U.S. Navy, Philippines
Born in the Philippines, Cuenco acquired lawful permanent resident status in 2002. He enlisted in the Navy in 2005 and presently serves as an E-4.

Affeya Tiffany Christine Grant, U.S. Navy, Guyana
Born in Guyana, Grant entered the United States in 1993.  She enlisted in the Navy in 2009 and currently serves as an E-3.

Therica Tameica Hutchinson, U.S. Army, Jamaica
Born in Jamaica, Hutchinson obtained lawful permanent resident status in 1994. She enlisted in the Army in 2004 and is currently serving as a Sergeant.

Oscar Gaspar Manrique, U.S. Air Force, Peru
Born in Peru, Manrique came to the United States with his mother in 1992.  In college he joined the Air National Guard and is currently a Senior Airman.   

Granger Lawrence Michael, U.S. Marine Corps, Papua New Guinea
Born in Papua New Guinea, Michael came to the United States with his family as the son of a diplomat.  He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2004 and currently serves as a Corporal, E-4. 

Roosevelt Joseph, U.S. Navy, Haiti
Born in Haiti, Joseph came to the United States as a child in 1997. In 2004, he enlisted in the Navy and now serves as an E4, Corpsman. 

Raquel De Olivera Moura, U.S. Navy, Brazil
Born in Brazil, Moura obtained her lawful permanent residence status in 2004. In 2007, she enlisted in the Navy and at present holds rank E-4 as an Aviation Structural Mechanic.

James Nyaga Muchoki, U.S. Army, Kenya
Born in Kenya, Muchoki obtained his lawful permanent residence status in 1996. He enlisted in the Air Forces’ Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve in 2007 and in 2008 enlisted in the Army’s Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve. At present, he holds rank E-4 in the occupation of a radiology technologist.

Jerdaine Devon Oldacre, U.S. Navy, Jamaica
Born in Jamaica, Oldacre obtained lawful permanent resident status in 2004. In 2009, he enlisted in the Navy and currently holds the rank of an E-1.

Soraya Conceicao Ross, U.S. Marine Corps, Brazil
Born in Brazil, Ross obtained lawful permanent resident status in 2006. In 2009, she enlisted in the Marine Corps and at present is a Combat Engineer.

Charlyston Schultz, U.S. Marine Corps, Brazil
Born in Brazil, Schultz obtained his lawful permanent residence status in 1998. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2007 and at present serves as a Captain.

Raul Pagaduan Sibayan, U.S. Army, Philippines
Born in the Philippines, Sibayan enlisted in the Army in 2009 at present holds rank E-4 in maintenance.

Andrew Hopeton Smith, U.S. Army, Jamaica
Born in Jamaica, Smith enlisted in the Army’s Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve in 2009 and at present holds rank E-3 as a Unit Supply Specialist.

Marcin Dominik Staniszewski, U.S. Marine Corps, Poland
Born in Poland, Staniszewski became a lawful permanent resident in 2004. He enlisted in the Marine Corps and at present, he is an AAV Mechanic holding rank E-3.    

Berhan Kifetew Teferi, U.S. Army, Ethiopia
Born in Ethiopia, Teferi entered the United States with his family in 2005.  In 2008 he enlisted in the Army as a reservist and is currently an E3, PFC. 

Pitrianne Natoya Williams, U.S. Navy, Jamaica
Born in Jamaica, Williams obtained her lawful permanent resident status in 2007. She enlisted in the Navy in 2008 and currently holds the rank of E-1 as an Aviation Boatswain Mate for Equipment.

Yu Yuan, U.S. Air Force, China
Born in the People’s Republic of China, Yuan entered the United States in 2003. She enlisted in the Air Force in 2009 and serves as a Material Management Specialist.

Jhonathan Zapata Garcia, U.S. Navy, Colombia
Born in Colombia, Garcia obtained lawful permanent residence status in 2006. He enlisted in the Navy in 2008, and is currently an Aviation Mechanist, AM-3.