Airman gets U.S. citizenship

By CYNTHIA GRIGGS

75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — After much persistence and endurance, Airman 1st Class Kyle Lapid, 75th Air Base Wing Judge Advocate Office, swore his oath of allegiance and became a United States citizen April 10 at Hill Air Force Base.

Lapid, who works as a paralegal, was born in Manila, Philippines, and always wanted to join the Air Force and become an American.

“Ever since I was little, I looked up to the greatest Air Force in the world and made a promise to become a part of it,” he said. “I was also very excited to migrate here to the United States, as it was a new chapter that helped me pursue more of my dreams.”

Lapid arrived in the U.S. in 2016 after graduating college in the Philippines. He moved to Idaho, where his father, whom he hadn’t seen in 16 years, was already living. He worked as a bookkeeper for a food company while he started the process of enlisting into the Air Force.

Adjusting to the move was tough at first and Lapid said he became homesick missing his friends and family back home.

“But I’m blessed to have those people I’ve met along the way who helped me get through the rough times and whenever I’m missing my past home,” he said. “They even taught me more about the U.S., which made me love it even more now to call it my new home.”

The road to citizenship was not an easygoing process. Lapid was supposed to be sworn in when he graduated from basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Tesxas, but there were delays in his paperwork.

He hoped it would happen while he was at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., for paralegal training, but again there were delays.

Once he got to Hill, he persisted in calling U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services every couple weeks to learn his status for more than a year. Fortunately, he receivedgreat support from his peers and leadership in his office, such as Major Craig Dunham, who also reached out to USCIS on his behalf.

Dunham said, “Ultimately over a few months of correspondence with USCIS, they were able to finalize his path to citizenship, as well as offer our office a military liaison point of contact, where they are willing to come out to our base twice a year to assist with any other Airmen that may be going through the same problems as Airman 1st Class Lapid.”

Lapid did not let the delays discourage his dream.

“Sometimes you actually think that planning things out is as easy as drawing one straight line,” he said. “But it will never be a plain straight line.

“It will always have detours, falling debris, and rocky roads. And I guess those things make us stronger and better when we finally reach every finish line…because that’s what life’s about. If it’s not hard, it’s not worth it,” Lapid said.

Now that Lapid is a U.S. citizen, he would like to pursue a commission as an Air Force officer and serve 20 years. He also wants earn a master’s degree in business and work in finance.

“The Air Force has been great to me,” Lapid said. “I could say that it didn’t just mold me into a better person, but it has taught me so many values that I’ll always carry even after I step out of the military. I want to give back by continuously working hard.”

Dunam summed up Lapid’s character.

“Airman 1st Class Lapid’s smile is infectious, as is his attitude. I can honestly say, as an Airman, he is the rule, not the exception in our office,” he said.