SAN DIEGO - Five Marine recruits became the first to take part in a pilot program that expedites the path to U.S. citizenship.
"It is an awesome feeling," said Pfc. Julio Aquirre, one of the first five to take advantage of Marine Corps' new pilot program.
An executive order by former President George Bush allowed servicemen and women to become U.S. citizens if they had a residency card and met other requirements.
What the Marines did is speed the process up.
"These recruits had already initiated the work needed to become citizens, during boot camp, they had a chance to study and pass the requirements, provided they made it through boot camp," said Marine Corps Recruit Depot Lt. Col. Christopher Nash.
They came from England, El Salvador, India, and two came from Mexico to be Marines.
The pilot program began at Paris Island, the other recruit depot on the East Coast.
All five Marines will take part in graduation ceremonies at MCRD Friday.
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