NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Sailors honored Asian and Pacific Islander cultures May 24 during a ceremony organized by the ship's American Heritage Observance Committee (AHOC).
The fun-filled ceremony included skits, dances, and guest speakers outlining the many contributions of Asian and Pacific Islanders to American society.
"I was overwhelmed to have the opportunity to represent my culture for my shipmates," said guest speaker Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 2nd Class (AW/SW) David Sanluis, a member of Carl Vinson's AHOC team. "It really meant a lot to me to share my culture with the crew."
Traditional Asian dances such as the Philippine national dance "Tinikling" were performed by the ship's AHOC members, along with other dances representing cultures throughout the Asian and Pacific regions.
Yeoman Seaman Ray Valenzuela, of Carl Vinson's Administration Department, performed as one of the cultural dancers during the event, demonstrating for Carl Vinson's crew the significance and importance of dancing for Asian and Pacific Island cultures.
According to Valenzuela, the dance performances were a learning experience for all who attended.
"I enjoyed participating in the dances and also the company of my fellow performers," said Valenzuela. "You are able to learn more about your culture and the other cultures by being part of events like this."
In another event to honor Asian and Pacific Islanders, Carl Vinson held a luncheon on the ship's floating accommodation facility (FAF) mess decks, including foods such as egg rolls, egg drop soup, and vegetable stir fry.
Asian Pacific Islander month originated in 1977 to celebrate Asian and Pacific Islanders' culture, heritage, and their many contributions to American life and society. The month not only represents a celebration of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage and culture, but also represents the diversity of American culture and the Navy.
"America is the melting pot of the world," said Carl Vinson's Executive Officer Capt. Dennis Mikeska. "We honor all those who come from our melting pot and serve our great nation."
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.
For more news from USS Carl Vinson, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.