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Sgt. Gustavo Antonio Arroliga-Lopez, a Marine recruiter in Woodbridge and a native of Nicaragua, takes the Oath of Citizenship along with other new citizens during last month’s Naturalization Ceremony at the National Museum of the Marine Corps last month.

Photo by John Hollis

Nicaraguan native, Marine becomes new US citizenship

8 Dec 2014 | John Hollis 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 dream.

 

“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: jhollis@quanticosentryonline.com