Coast Guard member becomes a U.S. citizen in St. Petersburg

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Written by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse

Seaman Kenwyn Berkeley, crew member aboard Coast Guard Cutter Resolute, a 210-foot medium-endurance Reliance class cutter homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla., takes the Oath of Allegiance Friday, June 29, 2018, aboard the cutter to become a citizen during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony. Berkeley was required to take part in a series of tests and interviews administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as a part of the naturalization process. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse.

Seaman Kenwyn Berkeley, crew member aboard Coast Guard Cutter Resolute, a 210-foot medium-endurance Reliance class cutter homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla., takes the Oath of Allegiance Friday, June 29, 2018, aboard the cutter to become a citizen during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony. Berkeley was required to take part in a series of tests and interviews administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as a part of the naturalization process. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse.

As a young boy, he played on the beaches in Trinidad and Tobago, now he is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard and official citizen of the country he serves.

Seaman Kenwyn Berkeley, crew member aboard Coast Guard Cutter Resolute, a 210-foot medium-endurance Reliance class cutter homeported in St. Petersburg, Florida, took the Oath of Allegiance Friday, June 29, 2018, to become a citizen during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony.

“It feels amazing to finally get to this point in the process,” said Berkeley. “It wasn’t an easy road but I’m feeling overall pure happiness to be a citizen, to serve, and to be closer to the goal of providing a better life for my son.”

Berkeley had a grin from cheek to cheek after the shipboard ceremony concluded.

“Hosting a naturalization ceremony is a very special event, especially within the department for one of our own,” said Lt. j.g. Jonathan Dietrich, crew member aboard the Resolute and deck department supervisor. “We have seen the work that Berkeley has put in and are proud to welcome him as a U.S. citizen. Having the ceremony aboard the cutter is also significant as he commits himself to serve his new nation. Berkeley is considered family not only with the crew, but particularly within his department.”

There are only two ways to become a U.S. citizen: by law or by birth. If you are not born in the U.S., then you may seek to become a citizen by naturalization, which is governed by the Immigration and Nationality Act. The process requires an applicant to take a series of tests and participate in several interviews.

Since enlisting in the Coast Guard in 2016, Berkeley has learned a lot and accomplished many goals.

“I’ve always had intentions of joining a military service for the experience and to develop myself,” said Berkeley.

Seaman Kenwyn Berkeley, crew member aboard Coast Guard Cutter Resolute, a 210-foot medium-endurance Reliance class cutter homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla., stands with his family aboard the cutter in St. Petersburg, Fla.., after taking the Oath of Allegiance to become a U.S. citizen Friday, June 29, 2018. Berkeley was required to take part in a series of tests and interviews administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as a part of the naturalization process. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse.

Seaman Kenwyn Berkeley, crew member aboard Coast Guard Cutter Resolute, a 210-foot medium-endurance Reliance class cutter homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla., stands with his family aboard the cutter in St. Petersburg, Fla.., after taking the Oath of Allegiance to become a U.S. citizen Friday, June 29, 2018. Berkeley was required to take part in a series of tests and interviews administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as a part of the naturalization process. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse.

Berkeley knew the Coast Guard was the right choice for him immediately after he spoke to one of the service’s veterans.

“He shared life experiences, talked about all the traveling, the training, and how it shaped his life in so many good ways – just his experiences alone, made it an easy choice for me,” said Berkeley.

The crew aboard the Resolute also benefits from having Berkeley aboard as it allows them to be more culturally aware of what someone has to go through to become a citizen. Many members of his crew speak highly of him.

“This is an opportunity for our crew to witness a shipmate make a full and conscious effort to assimilate into our country and to fulfill the oath he swore to the people of this nation,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Seth Pritt, crew member aboard the Resolute and one of Berkeley’s supervisors. “We are proud of the hard work and determination it took for this accomplishment and we congratulate him on becoming a full-fledged United States citizen.”

Berkeley intends to make the Coast Guard a 20-year career; however, he has some short-term goals as well. Berkeley has educational plans in his near future and is scheduled to attend avionics electrical technician class “A” school in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

Through his determination and perseverance, Berkeley was able to realize his goal of becoming a citizen of the country he loves – a country he now calls home.

 


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