Nigerian Immigrant and U.S. Army Soldier Celebrates Receiving Her U.S. Citizenship with the USO

By Barry Morris

Immigrant to the U.S. from Nigeria. Certified pilot. U.S. Army soldier.

These are just a few of the many titles that help identify Spc. Beauty Osemwegie, who recently received her U.S. citizenship during a naturalization ceremony held at the U.S. District Court Richmond, Virginia, on July 19, 2023.

Beauty, who was born in Benin City, Nigeria, followed her passion for flying and, at the age of 28, moved to Florida in 2018 to attend flight school and become a pilot.

Along the way, Beauty felt another calling – a calling to serve – and so she recently enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves in November of 2022, and now serves as a Unit Supply Specialist with the 926th Engineer Battalion, based out of Birmingham, Alabama.

Beauty knew that she had a passion for flying, and so in 2018, she moved to the United States to pursue a career as a pilot. This later led to her joining the U.S. Army. | Photo credit USO Photo

When the opportunity was presented to her, Beauty jumped on the chance to call herself a U.S. citizen.

“I have always loved to serve, I am the first generation to serve in my family, I am creating a legacy for my family and future children and to inspire them to serve this great nation,” Beauty said.

With the ceremony held in Richmond, Virginia, and with all her immediate family still living in Nigeria, Beauty initially had no one there by her side to take pictures or celebrate her achievement in becoming a U.S. citizen.

However, on her flight back to Florida, Beauty made her first-ever visit to a USO Center, located in the Richmond International Airport, where she was immediately welcomed with open arms and treated like a member of the family by USO staff and volunteers.

“The staff at the USO were so welcoming, friendly and homely, they ensured all the visitors who came in were comfortable and relaxed … plus the comfortable chairs, Wi-Fi and snacks were nice. I loved it there,” she said.

When Tricia Riggs, the USO senior center operations supervisor at the Richmond International Airport USO Center, learned that Beauty had no one there to support her or take pictures of her receiving her U.S. citizenship to commemorate the special occasion, Tricia sprang into action and decided to celebrate this achievement with her.

“Claudia, a USO volunteer, and I truly felt honored to be able to add to the excitement of her day and to share in her joy and excitement,” Tricia said. “I also presented her with my USO coin so that she could have another positive memory of her visit on such a truly life changing event in her life.”

According to the Department of Defense, the century-long tradition of military coins is meant to instill pride, improve morale and – notably – acknowledge hard work and a job well done.

With all of her close family and friends an entire ocean away in Nigeria, Beauty had no one to commemorate with when she officially became a U.S. citizen. So, the USO staff and volunteers at a nearby USO Center made sure that this special moment was given the proper celebration it deserved. | Photo credit USO Photo

Tricia’s symbolic presentation of a USO coin, which would have been presented to Beauty by passing it from palm to palm while shaking hands, was an acknowledgment of Beauty’s hard work and sacrifice in her journey in the U.S. military and in becoming an American citizen.

With over 250 USO Centers across the globe, the USO provides a home away from home, offering a warm, welcoming lounge, internet connectivity for guests, drinks and snacks, as well as various forms of entertainment such as board games, video games, TV, books and more for service members and their families to enjoy.

Through these centers, and in these moments shared with our military members, the USO aims to make sure service members know that we are with them every step of the way.

“This experience is a gentle reminder that no matter where our service members may be in their military journey, or where they are stationed, the USO will always be there for them,” said Tricia.

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