NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- After a summer hiatus, the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)American Heritage Observance Committee (AHOC) returned to the ship Sept. 18 with new ideas and activities to show recognition for heritage aboard; the group has planned its first ceremony for early October.
To kick off the fall season, AHOC is holding meetings and making preparations for its upcoming Hispanic Heritage month celebration. Activities will be geared toward educating Sailors on Hispanic tradition, customs and courtesies, as well as an overall celebration of the diversity of the crew.
"AHOC has a lot of new things planned for the ship and, as far as heritage observance goes, we have come up with creative activities that embody heritage and ultimately teach Sailors about traditions they may not be accustomed to," said Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 1st Class (AW) Sonya Hogan.
Hispanic Heritage month runs Sept. 15 - Oct. 15, to recognize and teach Sailors about the contributions of Hispanic Americans and the different cultures from which they hail.
According to Hogan, diversity and tolerance are the key focal points to all AHOC heritage observance exercises, which will be a morale boost as the complete crew move aboard (CCMA) evolution nears and shipyard production levels continue to rise.
"I am glad the ship is going to recognize Hispanic Heritage month," said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Leticia Chupany. "There is so much culture to be learned from Hispanic heritage, and all heritages, and I plan on encouraging my fellow shipmates to participate in not only this celebration but to celebrate all other cultures as well. AHOC always does a great job, and I know that my heritage will be greatly represented with this month's celebration."
There will be a wide range of activities on the ship to include games, trivia and prizes. Activities will attempt to inspire Sailors to learn about Hispanic geography, language and Hispanic American contributors and inventors. Guest speakers will share their traditions and culture with Sailors along with a special meal prepared in the galleys in observance of the celebration.
"Observance months are fun for us in the galley, because we get a chance to think outside of the box for the menu and create dishes that are inspired by a different culture and that the crew really enjoys," said Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SW) Kenneth Horsky.
According to AHOC representatives, diversity is a strength for the crew, and this is just the beginning for the committee, and the ship can expect a lot more diversity events to be introduced in the near future. Innovative activities will be implemented into each celebration, and Sailors can look forward to learning something new about heritage every month.
"I've been a member of AHOC since last year, and we have a lot of fun coming up with the activities and promoting all of the events," said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman John Hoffman. "I learn a lot backstage preparing for the observance day, and it's a fun extracurricular activity aside from my day to day duties."
AHOC is designed to teach the understanding and philosophy of American heritage to promote citizenship, unity and acceptance among Sailors of every race, heritage and tradition.
"Sailors should embrace heritage with or without an AHOC event. The committee simply wants to inspire the ship to take a step back and learn something new about their fellow shipmates," said Hogan. "Carl Vinson is such a melting pot of diversity. There is so much culture right here in our very own ship spaces; we just have to be inspired to learn something new, with an open mind."
Carl Vinson is 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.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.