Canadian-born Coast Guardsman earns U.S. citizenship

Coast Guard Fireman Braden Mello participates in naturalization ceremony in Anchorage, Alaska, Nov. 20, 2015.  Mello was born in Ontario, Canada, but spent most of his life in Vermont.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert.

Coast Guard Fireman Braden Mello participates in naturalization ceremony in Anchorage, Alaska, Nov. 20, 2015. Mello was born in Ontario, Canada, but spent most of his life in Vermont. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert.

The dream of becoming a citizen of the United States is a lifelong ambition for some. For Coast Guard Fireman Braden Mello however, it was like coming home.

Born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada, Mello officially became a U.S. citizen Nov. 20, after a ceremony in Anchorage, Alaska. Unlike many seeking U.S. citizenship however, Mello was already well acquainted with the American way of life.

“I lived in Canada less than a year before coming to the United States,” said Mello. “Many of my family had already come to America to become citizens by then, and I grew up and went to school in New England. Before now, I was already basically an American in every way but on paper.”

Joining the Coast Guard had a positive impact on Mello’s life in more ways than one. Mello currently serves at Station Valdez and, aside from the benefits derived from military service, joining the Coast Guard also prompted him to seriously pursue citizenship.

“I joined the Coast Guard because I knew it’s a good branch to be in,” said Mello who is on the “A” school list to become a machinery technician. “I’d always wanted to go through the citizenship process, but enlisting in the Coast Guard made applying more important because I wouldn’t be able to reenlist without citizenship. I plan on sticking around awhile and possibly going through Officer Candidate School.”

Growing up in the United States and being familiar with the sort of background checks and records required by the Coast Guard gave Mello an obvious advantage over the thousands of people who apply for citizenship every day, but that doesn’t mean he values the accomplishment any less.

“I really admire people who come from a much more foreign nation than Canada, that don’t speak the language, don’t know the culture and are just starting out,” said Mello. “They have to learn all of that; whereas I really didn’t. I went through the public school system in Vermont, and history is one of my more solid subjects. I’ve always considered the United States to be my home, and I’m proud to say it’s now official.”

Command staff members from Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, including Capt. Paul Albertson, sector commander, congratulate Fireman Braden Mello on becoming a U.S. citizen Nov. 20, 2015.  Mello serves in the Coast Guard at Station Valdez and hopes to become a machinery technician.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert.

Command staff members from Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, including Capt. Paul Albertson, sector commander, congratulate Fireman Braden Mello on becoming a U.S. citizen Nov. 20, 2015. Mello serves in the Coast Guard at Station Valdez and hopes to become a machinery technician. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert.

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