Marine Corps Base Quantico --
His path to American citizenship began in his native
Nicaragua and included stops in Afghanistan, Germany, Malaysia and Singapore
among other places.
Sgt. Gustavo Antonio Arroliga-Lopez, Marine recruiter in
Woodbridge, said it was the least that he could do for a country that has been
so good to him and his family. Now 31 years old with seven years of service in
the Marine Corps, Arroliga-Lopez was only two when his family first came to the
U.S. in search of a better life.
“It’s definitely a good feeling and it was about time,” he
said recently after officially becoming a U.S. citizen during a ceremony last
month at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. “I’ve been saying that I was
going to do this for a while, so it was time to actually do it. This nation has
given me so much. Why not be a part of it?”
His wife, Laura, applauded her husband for realizing a
“I’m very proud of him,” she said. “I feel like he took a
very big step forward in life.”
Arroliga-Lopez, who was joined at the naturalization
ceremony by his family and several fellow recruiters, first enlisted in the
Marine Corps seven years ago as a way of saying thanks to America. He spent
most of 2009-2011 in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
But following in the footsteps of the several family members
who had already become U.S. citizens would require more effort still. As part
of the naturalization process, Arroliga-Lopez was forced to brush up on
American government and history.
The reward for his efforts came the moment he raised his
right hand and took the Oath of Citizenship.
“This nation has given me so much,” Arroliga-Lopez said. “It
was the least I could do.”
— Writer: firstname.lastname@example.org