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Earning citizenship nets Airman four more years in uniform

  • Published
  • By Steve Pivnick
  • 81st Medical Group Public Affairs
Senior Airman Julio Alarcon marked a major milestone July 25 -- he was able to re-enlist for four more years in the Air Force.

Though many Airmen take the opportunity to re-enlist for granted, Airman Alarcon was only able to achieve his goal to stay in the Air Force after reaching another. On May 31, he took the oath to become a U.S. citizen, a requirement for re-enlistment.

Originally from Lima, Peru, Airman Alarcon, a genetics lab administrator technician with the 81st Medical Operations Squadron, arrived in the United States in 2000. His father was living in Dallas, and members of his mother's family were in the Miami area.

In 2003, after working a variety of jobs, including plumbing supply and for a delivery company, Airman Alarcon, then 26, enlisted in the Air Force.

He says he was motivated by his desire to become a citizen, as well as the pride in serving in the Air Force.

In addition to citizenship and re-enlistment, Airman Alarcon has furthered his education while serving his adopted country. "I have achieved most of my desires and goals since enlisting," he said. "In September, he plans to complete a bachelor's degree in health care administration from Colorado Technical University. He intends to use the degree as a stepping stone to gaining a commission as an Air Force officer.

Airman Alarcon said the support of his flight commander and squadron first sergeant was key to his ability to become a United States citizen. "I have to thank Major (Daniel) Wattendorf and Master Sgt. (Douglas) Wilder, who helped me obtain my citizenship paperwork," he said.

"I probably couldn't have done this on the outside," he said. "I'm so proud to be an American."