A new breed of Patriot

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Daniel Liddicoet
  • 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
As American influence continues to expand globally, the traditional concept of patriotism takes on a broader definition. The true essence of an American patriot is no longer anchored by birthright. This is perhaps most evident within the military, where in recent years an influx of legal immigrants have helped bolster the nation's defenses as a result of expedited measures  to naturalize them as citizens.

Growing up in the rural Tarlac province of the Philippines, Senior Airman Anne Venice Jalos, 446th Airlift Wing, never envisioned that at 19 years old she would serving the U.S. military as a naturalized citizen.

"Being raised in the Philippines was very traditional, we depended on our parents a lot. Women weren't encouraged to succeed; it sometimes felt like I was being drug down," Jalos said.

After her mother moved the family to the United States to pursue the American dream, Jalos felt emboldened with a new sense of hope for her future.

"Here, I knew I could be truly free," she said.

Soon after graduating high school, and still relatively new to English, Jalos made the boldest decision of her life - enlisting into the active duty Air Force.

"At first, I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know that gaining my citizenship was even an option, but I knew that I wanted to serve."

Luckily for Jalos, her recruiter, Tech. Sgt. Erin Bush, 446th Airlift Wing Development and Training Flight program manager, was well-versed on the military guidance on naturalization.

"This program offers all legal resident aliens the opportunity to earn naturalization as U.S. citizens through Basic Military Training. Once I really understood the potential of this program, I knew I had to educate myself on it so I could offer this opportunity," recalled Bush.

Armed with a new resolve, four weeks of citizenship testing and the successful completion of BMT soon culminated in what would be one of the most meaningful moments Jalos's life.

"When I was presented with my Airman's coin at graduation and I knew I was officially a citizen, I was overwhelmed," recalls Jalos.

"Saying 'I am an American Airman' finally had so much meaning to me because I knew that I really was an American."

Full of well-earned patriotism and and purpose, Jalos exhibits the kinds of qualities in an Airman that many hope to achieve.

"Being in the military has changed my life. I know I can become who I want to be."