MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. — It was a moment of happiness and excitement for Airman 1st Class Edgar Barcenas Zumaya, 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron water and fuel systems maintenance apprentice, when he officially became a U.S. citizen during a naturalization ceremony at Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas on Aug. 7, 2020.
Born in Mexico, Barcenas Zumaya was only three years of age when he and his family immigrated to the United States. Growing up in Dallas, Texas he met a few Army and Navy veterans at his job which sparked his interest in the military being a career. The veterans recommended the Air Force.
He soon sat down with an Air Force recruiter and learned about the benefits of serving in the United States military.
“I joined to travel and to go to college, but when the recruiter told me that I could get my citizenship while serving, I was even more motivated,” said Barcenas Zumaya.
Although not being a citizen did not prevent him from joining the Air Force, it did limit the job opportunities available to him.
“Due to the fact that I didn’t have my citizenship, I was limited on the number of jobs I could have. I wanted to be a linguist but it wasn’t on the list of jobs I was able to choose from,” said Barcenas Zumaya.
He met all requirements to become a linguist except for the ability to obtain a security clearance, which required him to be a U.S. citizen. With his citizenship, he opens himself to endless possibilities.
“I’m excited for the new opportunities to come,” said Barcenas Zumaya.
The ceremony finalized his journey to becoming a U.S. citizen, but that was the legal portion. “When I graduated Basic Military Training, said the Airmen’s Creed and was given my Airman’s coin, that’s when I realized I was very much an American,” said Barcenas Zumaya.
Barcenas Zumaya’s Air Force family, were not able to witness the ceremony due to safety restrictions related to COVID-19, but they were present to support him.
“As his supervisor, I am super proud of him,” said Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Jordan 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron WFSM craftsman. “While this is a monumental milestone for him, he has always been an American Airman”.