Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday visited USS Constitution to conduct a naturalization ceremony and engage with Sailors, June 30.
BOSTON – Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday visited USS Constitution to conduct a naturalization ceremony and engage with Sailors June 30.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services presented 10 citizenship candidates, two who currently serve on the USS Constitution, to the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts during a naturalization ceremony where CNO gave remarks.
“The United States is and will forever be a nation of immigrants,” Gilday said. “Your stories- and the cultures, customs, and traditions you bring to America- exemplify that we have more to unite us than to divide us.”
Airman Chantol Kelly and Personnel Specialist Seaman Ari Modely became U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony hosted by Gilday aboard the 223-year-old ship.
“To our newest citizens- congratulations! How fitting it is to celebrate your naturalization in Boston, the birthplace of the American Revolution, on the deck of Constitution, a warship that sailed and fought to secure the Blessings of Liberty, when our nation was in its infancy,” said Gilday.
The naturalization ceremony was the final step for Kelly and Modely in the naturalization process where the Sailors swore the Oath of Allegiance and officially became U.S. Citizens.
“This moment is about believing in yourself,” said Modely. “You also cannot forget those who have helped you get where you want to go.”
After the ceremony, Gilday met and spoke with USS Constitution Sailors, who provide free tours and offer public visitation as they support the ship’s mission of promoting the Navy’s history and maritime heritage and raising awareness of the importance of a sustained naval presence.
USS Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat, and played a crucial role in the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812, actively defending sea lanes from 1797 to 1855. USS Constitution was undefeated in battle and destroyed or captured 33 opponents. The ship earned the nickname of Old Ironsides during the war of 1812 when British cannonballs were seen bouncing off the ship’s wooden hull.
USS Constitution is open for public visitation Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This was Gilday’s first visit to the USS Constitution since taking office as CNO.