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NMFSC Celebrates Cultural Diversity During Hispanic Heritage Month

26 September 2022

From Randy Mitchell

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – As National Hispanic Heritage Month begins there are always moments to reflect on where we have come from as a military service to see where we are headed. This year’s theme, “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation,” celebrates our cultural diversity.

The month-long recognition began Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 15. “Our Navy and Marine Corps is a stronger, more capable force because of the rich heritage of our Hispanic servicemembers,” said Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro.

During #HispanicHeritageMonth, we celebrate and honor the achievements and contributions of all our Hispanic and Latinx Sailors, Marines, Civilians, Contractors and their families. Today’s Navy is more diverse and accepting of all cultures, lifestyles and our people than at any moment in history.

Originally celebrated as a weeklong event, it was extended to a month and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Sept. 15 was chosen as the opening for the commemoration because it is widely recognized as the start of the Mexican War of Independence, which culminated in 1821.

Lt. Jonathan Gomez-Rivera, assigned to Naval Medical Forces Support Command N4 Logistics department,prepares for a flight during a deployment to Djibuoti, Africa.
Lt. Jonathan Gomez-Rivera, assigned to Naval Medical Forces Support Command N4 Logistics department,prepares for a flight during a deployment to Djibuoti, Africa.
Lt. Jonathan Gomez-Rivera, assigned to Naval Medical Forces Support Command N4 Logistics department,prepares for a flight during a deployment to Djibuoti, Africa.
220915-N-OO182-127
Lt. Jonathan Gomez-Rivera, assigned to Naval Medical Forces Support Command N4 Logistics department,prepares for a flight during a deployment to Djibuoti, Africa.
Photo By: Petty Officer 1st Class David Ko
VIRIN: 220915-N-OO182-127

Additionally, National Hispanic Heritage Month was first proclaimed by President George H. W. Bush on Sept. 14, 1989, since then all presidents have signed a Presidential Proclamation to mark Hispanic Heritage Month. It is celebrated annually as a time to recognize the many contributions, diverse cultures, and extensive histories of the American Latino community.

The military has taken time during National Hispanic Heritage Month to honor both fallen and active-duty Hispanic Americans who have served our nation. Fifteen people of Hispanic heritage in the Navy and U.S. Marine Corps have been awarded the Medal of Honor, two members of the Navy and 13 Marines.

For Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Amity Montoya, with the NMFSC Education and Training Directorate, her military service mirrors that of many Hispanics in the Navy today,

“The Navy has afforded me the opportunity to travel the world and experience diverse cultures, but more importantly has given me the life skills to overcome challenges, deal with conflict and accept change,” said Montoya. “It has made me a more resilient Sailor and a better leader. As the first woman in my family to join the military, it has also made me a better role model for my family and community.”

The strides made by the Navy don’t only reside in the enlisted ranks but within our officer ranks. The opportunities are boundless within the Navy and no dream is out of reach, especially when it comes to promotions.


“The Navy has not only been an amazing adventure that has allowed my family and I to travel, but it has afforded opportunities to serve in distinguished leadership roles that would take years in the private sector, said Lt. Jonathan Gomez-Rivera, NMFSC Health Facilities Planning & Project Officer. 
Additionally, Gomez-Rivera was able to attend a military Duty Under Instruction program such as the Army-Baylor Program that he credits as a catalyst in his professional military development.
“One can attest not many employers are willing to send you to a top graduate program, pay for tuition, allow you to participate in a one-year civilian residency program at a top performing organization, and let you maintain your compensation benefits as if you were working full-time., added Gomez-Rivera. “It is such a great deal, especially when all this education was provided without touching my Montgomery GI Bill benefits. In my opinion, it’s a testament to the Navy’s value in developing the best and brightest.”
As a first-generation immigrant the military has provided Gomez-Rivera a platform in which one can continuously develop as a leader, while simultaneously giving back to a nation of immigrants.
These are the stories Del Toro witnesses daily as he sees the Navy for what it is, one family, and wishes a Happy National Hispanic Heritage month from his “familia to yours.”

 

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