Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington --
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. – After living your entire life in one country, imagine saying goodbye to all the people and customs you grew up with, only to arrive in another country to start over -- your world divided into two parts, one connected to your home country and one connected to your new home.
A Fairchild Air Force Base Airman recently completed his journey to become a United States citizen.
“I moved to America three years ago looking for a better career opportunity,” Airman 1st Class Allen Carpio, 92nd Force Support Squadron services shift lead, said. “Back home in the Philippines, I had a good job, but it wasn’t fulfilling. I knew the United States Air Force would provide me the opportunity to get outside of my comfort zone. The Air Force is a growing branch, so I saw the potential of me being an asset to the team.”
Carpio was correct. The Air Force’s role continues to grow in the nation’s defense and the service relies on Airmen like Carpio to bring fresh perspectives to the table. The transition from civilian life to military life can be hard to adapt to, but overcoming all the challenges can make a person stronger in their resolve.
“At first, I was terrible at being an Airman. I was one of the worst in physical training and I was very confused with everything since I was newly adapted to it,” Carpio said. “But then I became the most improved Airman, which inspired me to do my best and become a student leader at my technical school. I later joined organizations here to help out fellow Airmen.”
Carpio began the process to attain U.S. citizenship when he arrived at Fairchild AFB. The process can be lengthy, but Carpio’s determination paved the way to his citizenship.
“Becoming a citizen is part of becoming an Airman,” Carpio said. “At first, I had mixed emotions because I had to renounce my old country, but then again, I realized it won’t change where my roots come from. America is a country that is open to many nations and I feel like I can do bigger things in the Air Force as a citizen.”
Carpio’s family welcomed him to become a citizen and supported him even though they are thousands of miles away.
“I chose to be in America because I want to work with people all around the world,” Carpio said. “My family found out I made it to America and they were happy about it because they think I can do better for myself here.”
Carpio works in the 92nd FSS, which provides a full range of support to the Team Fairchild mission. As a services shift lead, he ensures the job gets done to the standards and quality the Air Force needs. Connectedness is invaluable in his career and the Air Force; by becoming a citizen and an Airman, Carpio found a team he could call his own.
“Airman Carpio is a beacon of light; he’s always in a good mood and puts others in a good mood,” said Technical Sergeant Stone Williams, 92 Force Support Squadron Ross Dining Facility assistant manager. “We’re very lucky to have him on the team.”
“I feel like being a citizen is an honor, and it’s a good thing that you are helping out a country and making changes for the better,” said Carpio. “If you’re an immigrant, the Air Force, as an organization, is incredibly inclusive and a great organization to join. I enjoy the wingmanship, and I believe you can do anything with the Air Force if you help out one another.”