PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- The Navy is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. This year's theme is "Hispanic Americans: Our rich cultures contributing to America's future" and will feature celebrations throughout the fleet.
The tradition of observing Hispanic Heritage began Sept. 17, 1968, when President Lyndon B. Johnson designated a week in mid-September as National Hispanic Heritage Week. Twenty years later in 1988, President Ronald Reagan extended that week to a month-long observance.
"Since before the United States was a sovereign nation, people of Hispanic descent have supported and defended this country's ideal of freedom and government of the people and by the people," said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) (SW/FMF) Joe R. Campa Jr. "In 1779 Jorge Farragut, a seaman born on the Spanish island of Minorca, joined the South Carolina Navy and fought at the battle of Savannah and at the second defense of Charleston. Farragut is thought to be one of the first Hispanic Revolutionary War heroes."
Service to this nation by Hispanic Americans continues strongly today. According to the most recent census report, there are more than 42 million people in the United States who are of Hispanic origin. Of these, more than 43,000 are Sailors and civilians serving with the U.S. Navy.
"Hispanics were a part of this land long before the founding of this nation and continue to be an integral part of America and the Navy," said Commander, Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) and Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP), Vice Adm. Kevin Moran. "Hispanics represent 7.7 percent of the active duty forces and 5.5 percent of the reserve forces today, and hold 39 Medals of Honor. There are approximately 129,000 Hispanics serving on active duty with honor at all levels in Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Many have paid the ultimate price."
Navy Administration Message (NAVADMIN) 244/06 encourages all Navy commands to increase their knowledge and awareness of Hispanic culture and contributions by celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month through programs, exhibits, publications and participation in military and community events recognizing the diversity of our American heritage. Commands are also encouraged to support the Association of Naval Services Officers (ANSO), which recently completed 25 years of service to the Navy and its Hispanic community of officers, enlisted and civilians. Information on ANSO is available at their Web site.
The Department of Defense will observe Hispanic Heritage Month with a luncheon and awards ceremony at the Hispanic Engineers National Achievement Awards Corporation (HENAAC) Conference Oct. 5-8 in Anaheim, Calif.
More information on diversity conferences, events and observances is available at the Navy diversity Web site www.npc.navy.mil/commandsupport/diversity/.
For more information on the Naval Education and Training Command, visit https://www.netc.navy.mil.
For related news, visit the Naval Education and Training Command Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cnet/.