Commander, Naval Legal Service Command Participates in, Highlights National Award at Boot Camp Naturalization

October 20th, 2023

Commander, Naval Legal Service Command Rear Adm. David G. Wilson took part in the Training Group 43 naturalization ceremony hosted at Recruit Training Command (RTC) in Great Lakes, Ill., on Oct. 5, 2023. The ceremony naturalized 93 military personnel from 30 countries spanning five continents.

Also in attendance were The Honorable Michael Scudder – circuit judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit – Adm. Daryl Caudle – commander of U.S. Fleet Forces – and leaders from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Chicago Field Office, RTC, and Region Legal Service Office Midwest.

Wilson shared during his remarks that he, too, was a proud immigrant.

“I was born in Jamaica, and I was naturalized in 1986. Thirty-seven years ago, I was like you. You can be an admiral, too,” he said. “The partnership between my team at Naval Legal Service Command and USCIS has resulted in naturalization ceremonies like this around the world, which are key enablers of Fleet readiness.”

Wilson recognized the USCIS Chicago Field Office, RTC, and Region Legal Service Office Midwest during the ceremony for recently receiving the prestigious American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel Distinguished Service Award.

The award recognized exceptional performance in the area of military legal assistance, highlighting how the recipients seamlessly worked together to build an innovative naturalization program for Navy recruits during initial recruit training. Once a small pilot program, their efforts have now expanded to a fully functioning enterprise that offers a streamlined path to U.S. citizenship for every recruit seeking it.

These naturalization opportunities leave a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of individual Sailors and their families and also serve as a powerful Navy recruiting tool. In Fiscal Year 2022, there were a total of 10,640 military naturalizations; the Navy accounted for 2,200 of those naturalizations.

Military naturalization is one of many legal assistance services provided by Naval Legal Service Command personnel across the Fleet. Legal experts provide step-by-step guidance to Sailors, who are qualified under the Immigration & National Act for expedited naturalization for aliens and non-citizen nationals serving in active-duty status. Additional information – and answers to frequently asked questions.