Finance airman achieves citizenship, sets sights on future goals

  • Published
  • By Lauren Russell
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – An Airman from the 66th Comptroller Squadron here has set out to achieve her goals one new English word, one piece of American history or one Air Force doctrine at a time. 

Airman 1st Class Ling Yu, a 66 CPTS financial accounting technician, came to the U.S. in 2013 from Shenyang, China, to join her husband, Ryan, who was serving in the Army at Fort Campbell, Tennessee. 

“I had been wanting to join the military for a long time after seeing my husband go to work every day,” said Yu. “I was so proud of him.”

When her husband’s tour ended, the pair moved to California and Yu knew she wanted to take the next step. Though she could barely speak English, she was determined.  

She got a job at a coffee chain and pushed herself every day to talk with customers and learn new words. Yu met with a recruiter in March 2020 and scored nearly perfect on her Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic bringing on more unknowns, she knew this was her shot and left for basic training in December 2020, pushing through the language barrier for drill movements and war skills.

“I knew there would be an opportunity for me to reach my goals,” she said. “I would tell myself, ‘just go run, do pushups, study your English,’ and now I’m here.”

Yu arrived at the 66th Comptroller Squadron here in March and hit the ground running, continuing to learn English, tackling her upgrade training, and preparing to test for her naturalization U.S. citizenship test, which she passed on July 23.

Yu said she wouldn’t have been able to balance her load of study material without her husband’s help and 6-year-old daughter’s motivation.

”I supported my husband through his career, and now that it’s my turn, he wanted to do the same for me,” she said. “My family is the most important thing in my life. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to do this.”

Yu said she was surprised to receive such support from her coworkers and wingmen, too, noting the difference between American and Chinese culture.

“I’ve never seen a working environment like this,” she said. “Whenever I need help, there is always someone here to support me. I feel like I’m in a family.”

Yu now has her sights set on her next goals of earning her master’s degree and commission, and said she’s grateful her unit is there to mentor her.

One such mentor includes fellow 66 CPTS financial technician, Senior Airman Aws Hussein, who arrived in the U.S. on the same day as Yu, Dec. 12, 2013.

Both Airmen continue to press toward their goals with the added incentive of making their families proud.

“My daughter’s favorite superhero is Captain America, and I would like to be that for her,” said Yu.