Crossing into the red, white, blue

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Allen Pollard
  • 9RW Public Affairs
An Airman from the 9th Force Support Squadron took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America at the Airmen Family Readiness Center here July 27.

Airman 1st Class Princess Sheriffa Okai was born in Ghana, West Africa, where she spent most of her childhood until the day her family moved to Long Island, N.Y., in 2007. Okai entered Basic Military Training Sept. 20, 2011 where she began her process to becoming a U.S. citizen.

"Being raised in Ghana, I have a different up-bringing from my other Airmen and American citizens," said Okai. "It wasn't easy but I learned to accept the changes of living in the United States."

Many American cultural barriers became difficult obstacles for Okai to overcome during her transition from Ghana.

"The food, culture, language, and the view of things really affected me at one point in my life," said Okai. "But it surely made me who I am today."

The Ghana native added she feels blessed to be born in a different country but accepted by another.

Okai is one of more than 11,000 foreign born women serving in the armed forces which makes up for 17.2 percent of the foreign born U.S. military personnel as of February 2008.

"I joined the Air Force to get out and travel, improve my education, and better myself," said Okai. "I feel privilege to wear the uniform."

Upon completing the Oath of Allegiance ceremony, friends and fellow Airmen congratulated her on her accomplishment and sacrifices of becoming an American citizen.

"I feel honored to now be an American Citizen," said Okai. "But I will always remember my homeland."