FORT POLK, La. –
Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital welcomes the Army’s newest American citizen to their operating room. Pfc. Savana Neves, operating room specialist, arrived at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, Louisiana on Oct. 25. On Oct. 29, she was interviewed and sworn in as a United States citizen in New Orleans.
A native of Brazil, Neves came to American six years ago when she was only 14.
“I arrived in the United States my sophomore year in high school and I didn’t speak any English,” she said. “It was a big transition. I lived in Alabama with my parents who moved here when I was a baby. I learned the language with an app on my phone, by watching television and listening to music.”
Neves said she decided to join the Army after high school for the educational opportunities.
“I wanted to go to college and eventually go to medical school,” she said. “I am currently working on my bachelor’s degree with the tuition assistance program and I plan to apply for the Army’s health professions scholarship program.”
Neves began the application process for her citizenship during her advanced individual training six months ago.
“I have accomplished many things since arriving in the United States,” she said. “Getting my citizenship and joining the Army put me on the right track to accomplish my goals.”
Neves recommends any Soldiers interested in getting their citizenship to apply.
“The process is not that hard, especially when you are in the military,” she said. “Go for it, you won’t regret it.”
Staff Sgt. Jonathan Fisher, station commander, New Orleans Recruiting Station said the Army will expedite the citizenship of Soldiers.
“We will accepts 1551 card, otherwise known as ‘green card’ holders or permanent residents into the Army,” he said. “Usually upon completion of AIT followed by an interview with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services the Soldiers will be granted citizenship. They will receive a U.S. Citizen certificate and before COVID-19 they had the opportunity to participate in a small ceremony.”
Neves said everyone should to consider joining the Army.
“If you want to join the military, you should do it,” she said. “It is a great opportunity. You get to see a lot of things, go a lot of places and meet a lot of great people.”
Neves said Fort Polk is her first duty station but she likes it so far.
“Being assigned at BJACH affords me the time to pursue my education,” she said. “At Fort Polk we are close to Houston, Lake Charles, and Alexandria. It is also great for me because I am so close to home.”