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New Mexico ROTC cadet becomes a US citizen

Cadet Elevira Fuimaono
Source: Cadet Elevira Fuimaono (NMMI Dispatches)

Roswell, NEW MEXICO — “Believe in yourself, that you will make it to the top because no one will put you there but yourself.” These were my grandfather’s last words before he passed away. He passed away right when I left home. It was the hardest and bravest thing I ever did was to leave him. My grandfather pushed me so hard just to get to where I am today. His words of motivation and encouragement always strengthen me to reach new heights, to accomplish my goals, and to strive for the best. I never believed in myself because a lot of people tend to think low of me. Sometimes, I put myself down so that people wouldn’t talk low about me.

It is all part of life. You will come across a lot of discouragements, distractions, and challenges that will test your faith in yourself and the Lord above. I came far away from home just to get to where my Grandfather wanted me to be. I chose the New Mexico Military Institute because my grandfather saw something in me. He believed that I can be a leader and being at this school will make a huge impact in my life.

I applied for the ROTC program to prove to my grandfather that I can be what he wanted me to be and prove to myself that this is my future. I chose this pathway because I want to try something different that most people from American Samoa never tried before. The ROTC program is very challenging, you get to meet different cadets from different backgrounds, meet high-ranking leaders, uphold the ROTC standards, pass all the requirements to stay in the program, and be a leader. The ROTC program provides cadets with significant opportunities and benefits. ROTC cadets receive valuable training as well as financial support for their education. They are supported in the development of strong personal traits such as self-discipline, confidence, and leadership.

Being a ROTC cadet is hard because you have your own responsibilities, you must set an example to all other cadets, be mentally and physically fit, and overcome fears. One of the things I learned in this program is that whatever mistake you make, learn from it and move on.

The ROTC program opens a lot of opportunities and benefits for cadets to succeed in life. I have experienced many ups and downs, learned many lessons, been corrected on many mistakes, and overcome fears. It gives me the opportunity to try and explore new things in life, and to be what I want to be in the future. It gives me the options to open new doors to my future. One thing that
I learned is that whatever you do in life, its you that put yourself to the top. You may come across with difficulties and struggles, but at the end you will reap what you sow. I have many struggles and weaknesses, facing many obstacles in ROTC training, events, etc., however, I am in the right place because ROTC makes sure that I get as much help as I need to be a successful leader and to succeed in life.

My biggest accomplishment was to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen. The ROTC program gave me the opportunity to become a citizen. It took me four months to get through the process until I got sworn in. The first process was hard for me because I couldn’t afford to pay the fee. However, it was worth it because it benefits me to the point where now I am a U.S. citizen and will commission as an officer in U.S. Army.

The second process was having my fingerprints in the system and background check. It was a long process because there were many people from different backgrounds that needed to be checked. At the same time, I was excited for this process because I got to socialize with them individually. The last process was being interviewed by one of the agents who was my examiner. The 10 questions were all about American history, civics, English, and writing.

I ended up with one mistake, but I still passed. It was a great feeling of excitement that made me realize that I finally came to the end. My citizen naturalization was a success. At the same time, I wish I had my family there with me, but I was thankful for the ROTC program for giving me the opportunity to become a U.S. citizen. If it wasn’t for this program, I would have not been an American. This was the biggest event and accomplishment that I have ever come across in my life. I felt proud of myself for accomplishing this milestone and I had so much pride because I got to represent American Samoa and put our name out there to the world. This milestone is dedicated to my people that anything is possible if you put your heart and mind to it and believe.