Vinson Celebrates Hispanic Heritage

Story Number: NNS061107-11Release Date: 11/7/2006 3:33:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Chris Fahey, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) paid homage to Vinson's Hispanic community Nov. 1 during a command observance recognizing the achievements of Latin Americans both past and present.

Vinson's American Heritage Observance Committee (AHOC) organized the one-hour event as part of their standing commitment to illustrate the importance of cultural diversity for the "Gold Eagle" crew.

"The future is diversity," said Vinson's Equal Opportunity Advisor and AHOC Chairman, Aviation Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (AW) Demetrius Rushin. "By observing all the different cultures represented both within and outside the Navy, the crew gains a better understanding of each other. This helps them relate and find a greater sense of pride."

The Hispanic observance offered a brief history lesson on several notable Hispanic entertainers and military leaders, readings from Latin American poets, and insight into the lives of Hispanic crew members through a series of personal anecdotes.

"When my mother immigrated to this country from Bolivia in [1966], she was determined that her children would be American and only American," said Vinson's Discipline Officer, and the event's guest speaker, Lt. Catherine Chiappetta. "It has only been in recent years that I've begun to really appreciate my cultural background."

Just prior to the event's end, crew members were treated to an advanced Salsa dance performance by Yeoman 3rd Class (SW) Jessenia Dawson and Airman (AW) Francisco Pena.

"There are several different styles of Latin dance we could have chosen to demonstrate, but Salsa seems to infuse a lot of different cultures due to its unique style and difficulty." said Dawson. "Also, no matter what your heritage, there's a good chance you have been exposed to Salsa dancing either by seeing it at a night club or in the movies. By displaying Hispanic culture through the unique art of Latin dance, we hope to inspire others to want to experience it for themselves."

In today's military, Hispanics continue to serve with pride and honor. Currently, there are more than 43,000 Hispanic Sailors and civilians serving honorably in the Navy.

Carl Vinson is currently undergoing its scheduled refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.

During RCOH, Carl Vinson's nuclear fuel will be replenished and the ship's services and infrastructure will be upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and prepare for another 25 years or more of service.

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