TBILISI, Georgia --
Corporal Erick R. Salinas was sworn in as citizen of the United States by Ambassador Richard Norland during his naturalization ceremony held April 19 at the U.S. Embassy, Georgia. Salinas, a native of El Salvador, immigrated to the United States of America at age six with his family. The Salinas family settled in San Francisco, Calif. where he graduated from Baden High School in 2006.
“Since 2006, it has been my dream to serve in the Marine Corps and to get my United States citizenship,” said Salinas. “I felt I had to prove myself before becoming a citizen and decided to deploy overseas with the Marine Corps twice to earn my citizenship. Today I am proud to say I am a United States citizen.”
Salinas joined the Marine Corps in 2006 as an infantryman. After completing recruit training and the School of Infantry, Salinas was assigned to Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment in San Bruno, Calif., where he is currently a platoon sergeant..
“I always wanted to be part of a bigger thing than myself, ” said Salinas. “I hope to lead the rest of my family to become United States citizens.”
Salinas is the first member of his family to be naturalized. His , Feliciana Mendoza, father Jose Salinas, sisters Jenny and Deanna Salinas, shared their praise through emails and a phonecall as they were not able to attend the naturalization ceremony.
"I am very close to my family and will miss them on this monumental day. I wish they were with me, but understand that they are back home,” added Salinas. “I have my Marine brothers with me in Georgia to help fill the void.”