JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Tuesday night, President-elect Donald Trump pledged to supporters that his administration would do more for military veterans.
Q13 News asked several soldiers what Trump’s promise means to them during an expedited citizenship naturalization ceremony held on Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Wednesday.
Opinions were mixed among active service members and veterans.
Petty Officer Gus Calero said he spent 15 years serving in the Navy while not being a citizen.
“Finally I can say I’m a U.S. citizen,” said Calero. “It’s a new beginning. It’s a moment of pride for my family, my kids."
Tuesday night, Trump spoke to Americans in his victory speech in New York City.
“We will also finally take care of our great veterans who have been so loyal,” Trump said. “I've gotten to know so many over this 18-month journey. The time I've spent with them during this campaign has been among my greatest honors. Our veterans are incredible people.”
Calero believed Trump’s renewed focus on veterans was a welcome change.
“I have a few friends that have been neglected for so long,” Calero said. “It’s about time that the government takes care of veterans and the military.”
Calero was among six men and women active service members -- from China, The Philippines and Bolivia. They were sworn in as U.S. citizens by Micah Brown, acting field office director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Col. Daniel S. Morna, the commander of JBLM, offered keynote remarks during the ceremony.
“You are what makes this country great, not just because you’re wearing a uniform but because you’re citizens,” he said. “As we just went through the election of yesterday, no matter how you look at the electoral politics of what we have done, we as a country have gone through peaceful transition of leadership between parties for decades, and that is a proud factor that shows the strength of our nation.”
At the end of the ceremony inside The Club at McChord Field, all six men and women stood with their hands raised and pledged their allegiance to the United States of America.
After the ceremony, Calero smiled and kissed his wife, Kris.
“I’m proud of him,” she said.
Other veterans in nearby Lakewood told Q13 News their opinions were mixed about the presidential election.
Some hoped Trump would stay true to his promises to treat veterans better. Others worried the president-elect wouldn’t follow through, becoming just another politician.