PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) gathered to celebrate Native American Heritage Month with a cake-cutting ceremony on the barge mess decks Nov. 29.
Native American Heritage Month began in 1990 when then-President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution which authorized a month-long national observance for Native American culture and its contributions to the U.S.
"Today, we are celebrating our diversity," said Capt. Dee L. Mewbourne, commanding officer of Truman. "The strength of our great Navy is that we don't all think alike. We put our talents together to create something that is better."
Mewbourne said he respected the many contributions of Native Americans and that cultural diversity is essential to the success of the Navy.
"Let us not forget the blood, sweat and tears Native Americans and the rest of us have shed in our history," said Senior Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW) Darryl Carr, master of ceremonies for the event.
Approximately 17,000 Native Americans serve in the Navy today. In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau reported more than 4.5 million Native Americans live in the U.S.
Truman is undergoing a docking planned incremental availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard to conduct maintenance and refurbish shipboard systems. Truman is expected to return to the fleet in the summer of 2012.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.