Air Guard recruit becomes U.S. citizen, heads to basic training
By Maj. Gabe Johnson, 162nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 20, 2012
TUCSON, Ariz. -- At the U.S. District Court here 53 new American citizens took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States July 20; each one eager for the duties of citizenship. One new American among the proud group was equally eager to assume the duties of an Airman.
Vivian Gutierrez de Pineres, originally from Bogota, Colombia, became a naturalized U.S. citizen only four days before reporting to Air Force Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, July 24. She enlisted in the Arizona Air National Guard's 162nd Fighter Wing in February to serve as a health services manager. While preparing her for the rigors of basic training, the wing helped her apply for citizenship.
"I feel so much appreciation," said Gutierrez. "I feel so thankful to the Arizona Air Guard. They have opened their doors to me and they helped me prepare my citizenship application making today possible."
Gutierrez said she didn't expect to become a citizen when she moved to the U.S. in 2006 to help manage her family's business in Miami. However, after meeting and marrying her husband, an American Soldier, her perspective changed.
"For me it became important to become a citizen," said Gutierrez whose husband is an intelligence officer at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. She volunteers there to assist other Army spouses during deployments. "I have always been interested in helping my community and if this is my new country I need to do the same here."
"I'm very proud of her," said Capt. Tim Cullers, Gutierrez' husband. "She stuck it out. It wasn't always easy. We went through the whole process of residency and now citizenship. It's worth it."
Cullers said he's also proud of his wife's desire to serve in the Air Guard.
"She's progressing as an individual. She likes to be a member of a professional organization. It also helps us come together as a family because it gives us goals to work towards together."
"I always imagined I would get married on the 4th of July," said Cullers. "We didn't get married on July 4, but we did meet on a 4th of July. Today she's an American citizen and together we're a patriotic family."