Photo Information

U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Johvany Moize, a Brooklyn, New York native and machine gunner with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division, poses for a photo with his father during Continuing Promise 2022 in Jeremie, Haiti, Dec. 14, 2022. “[Being naturalized] was a good feeling,” said Moize. “It didn’t feel real to me that I was an actual citizen. To come from Haiti and go to the United States and you become a citizen, that’s a big thing. That’s something you should be proud of for your whole life.” The Continuing Promise mission includes providing direct medical care and expeditionary veterinary care, conducting training and subject matter expert exchanges on various medical and humanitarian civic assistance topics, and leading seminars on Women, Peace, and Security. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ryan Ramsammy)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Ryan Ramsammy

Full Circle - Newly Naturalized Marine Reunites with his Community on Deployment in Haiti

22 Dec 2022 | Story by Sgt. Alexa Hernandez 2nd Marine Division

The United States Marine Corps is an organization that brings together Marines and Sailors from diverse cultures and backgrounds for a collective cause, to protect the Nation and assist those in need. Each year, Marines born in different countries are naturalized to become United States citizens.

On December 2, 2022, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment (V18), 2d Marine Division conducted a naturalization ceremony aboard Battleship North Carolina. Eighteen Marines from fourteen different countries were naturalized that day, making it one of the largest naturalization ceremonies ever for a Marine infantry battalion.

Four days after this historic naturalization, one of the new United States citizens, Private First Class Johvany Moize, prepared to deploy aboard the USNS Comfort, to provide humanitarian relief to Haiti, the same country where he was born and raised. Moize, a nineteen year old machine gunner with V18, grew up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the capital city that sits on the Gulf of Gonave.

“Seeing my community and helping them was a great feeling, I wanted to do everything to help them. Give them food, water, everything possible. I even worked outside of my duties to make sure they were taken care of.”

During this humanitarian mission, Moize was a vital asset in its success as he provided security and cleared the pier each morning of any potential threats to the immediate area. He also acted as a liaison between the Haitian National Police and the Marine Corps, helping translate between both forces to assist patients who were trying to receive medical help.

For as long as he could remember, Moize wanted to become a United States Marine. He recalls the positive impact Marines had in his childhood when a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck his hometown in Haiti, claiming the lives of over 220,000 people, and injuring many more. The earthquake left Haitians in desperate need of food, water, and shelter, as the fragile infrastructure was destroyed and turned into rubble.

“It was around 2010 there was a big earthquake, and after the earthquake the Marines came,” recalled Moize. “They gave us food and water, and helicopters came and gave us MREs. I saw that as an inspiration, I wanted to help people too. When I came to America one of my dreams was to become a Marine, because of what they did for us when I was in Haiti.”

Moize’s experience as a Marine came full circle when he reunited with his father during his deployment to Haiti with V18. “The last time I saw my dad was 7 years ago,” said Moize. “I didn’t get to see him the day I left [Haiti].”

As a result of the historic naturalization this month, Moize, one of the eighteen Marines naturalized, was able to give back to his community while embracing his legacy as a United States Marine.

Moize’s unique story is one of many Marines who immigrate to the United States in search of better opportunities.

“I still can’t believe it. It feels like I’m dreaming. I feel proud of myself. My dad is proud of me and my country is proud of me.”

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