BMT May Help Trainees Receive Citizenship

Some Air Force trainees may soon earn more than the proud title of airman when they graduate from basic military training at Lackland AFB, Tex. Col. William Mott, commander of the 37th Training Wing, which oversees BMT, is working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to expedite the naturalization process for hundreds of trainees each year. The program remains in the development phase, but Mott told the Daily Report that he envisions trainees filling out the paperwork with their recruiters, handing it over to BMT personnel when they in-process to basic training, and then walking away with their citizenship eight and half weeks later. “This is one where it sounds like it’s going to be awfully hard, but it’s good for the nation, the Air Force, and the airmen,” said Mott. He said it also will cut down on time-consuming paperwork at bases throughout the Air Force because all trainees who are not naturalized citizens should be able to get their citizenship before moving on to the operational force. Customs officials approached Mott last fall after federal laws changed, making those who sign up to serve eligible for expedited processing. He said he expects the program to be in place by the summer of next year.