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I Am Navy Medicine – and U.S. Naturalized Citizen – Hospitalman Hannah Acker

01 September 2023

From Douglas Stutz

Although not outwardly apparent, Navy Hospitalman Hannah Acker departed Seattle Seafair Fleet Week 2023 decidedly different than the way she arrived.Acker, originally from Bad Ord, Germany, a small community of approximately 10,000 residents tucked away about an hour east of Frankfurt, took the oath of allegiance at the annual event to become a
Although not outwardly apparent, Navy Hospitalman Hannah Acker departed Seattle Seafair Fleet Week 2023 decidedly different than the way she arrived.

Acker, originally from Bad Ord, Germany, a small community of approximately 10,000 residents tucked away about an hour east of Frankfurt, took the oath of allegiance at the annual event to become a U.S. citizen during a Naturalization Ceremony, August 2, 2023.

“I actually started the whole process in July of 2022,” said Acker. “I had my interview end of January of 2023. I had my test the same day. They were going to schedule me for an oath ceremony in Texas. But since I was graduating from the [14 weeks] Hospital Corps ‘A’ school at Navy Medicine Training Support Center, Joint Base San Antonio, it was decided to wait until I had checked into my current command, Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Bremerton.”

Acker had all her paperwork transferred with her, conferred with Navy Region Legal Service Office Northwest and decided on taking the oath with 20 other members from the Army, Air Force, Navy and Washington National Guard during the Seattle Seafair Fleet Week.

The naturalization ceremony was a combined effort with Navy RLSO NW collaborating with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Seattle field office.

“Being able to become a U.S. citizen when serving in the U.S. Navy means a lot to me,” explained Acker. “After I decided to do it, becoming a U.S. citizen became part of joining the Navy. As soon as I was in bootcamp, I started the paperwork process.”

Acker attests that the most challenging part for her was not knowing how far along her application was or when she would finally get my citizenship.

“Since I just graduated high school last year the studying wasn’t challenging for me since I already had to take history, said Acker, who attended Miami Valley Career Technology Center in Clayton, Ohio, in 2022. She began learning the English language in the third grade. “The big thing was I had to keep track of all my documents and where I was at in the naturalization process.”

Acker was assigned as a general duty corpsman in the command’s Urgent Care Clinic after arriving five months ago. Along with her clinical duties ranging from taking vital signs to helping triage patients, she continued to prepare for becoming a U.S. citizen.

“Being part of Navy Medicine as a hospital corpsman lets me give back to the country that adopted me,” stated Acker.

“Working in the UCC has been really rewarding in the few months I’ve been here,” Acker added. “The doctors, nurses and other corpsmen share a lot of information and give a lot of guidance. There’s more structure here and getting used to everything has been an ongoing learning experience.”

When asked what’s the best part about her Navy career been so far, Acker replied, “Meeting new people and learning more about the medical field.”

When asked what being a U.S. citizen means, Acker answered, “This will give me more opportunities. Also, it made my mom proud.”

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