NEWPORT NEWS, Va (NNS) -- As Hispanic American Heritage Month wraps up, the celebration and education of Hispanic culture aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) will continue year-round, especially in Damage Control (DC) Division, which has three Hispanic Sailors in the upper chain of command who are very proud of their culture, and contribute their success to their Hispanic roots.
TR's Damage Control Assistant, Lt. Cmdr. Ruben Galvan is of Mexican descent, TR's Fire Marshal Chief Warrant Officer 2 Noel Genao is Puerto Rican and Dominican, and DC division leading chief petty officer Chief Damage Controlman (SW/AW) John Scott is Panamanian.
"There have been countless Hispanic men and women to serve our country and several have won the Medal of Honor, but facts like that are not well known," said Galvan. "It's our job to research these things, teach our chilrden and others of these contributions."
For more than 200 years, Hispanics have proudly served in the Navy. According to NAVADMIN 265/12, there are more than 50,000 Hispanic active duty and reserve Sailors and officers with nearly 15,00 Hispanic civilians serving in the Navy Total Force. This includes four Hispanic flag officers and 172 Hispanic master chiefs.
"Today's Navy is a reflection of society," said Galvan. "Over the years the Navy has done an excellent job in becoming a melting pot of different cultures and races."
Hispanic American Heritage Month recognizes those American citizens whos ancestors hailed from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America by celebrating their histories, cultures and contributions to the United States.
"The American culture is what attracts a lot of Hispanics to this country," said Genao. "My parents always worked hard so they could make sure I had more and strived for better than what they had. This has been my motivating force to succeed in life and my naval career."
Close family ties and relationships are very important in the Hispanic culture. Almost everything is done together and shared as a family, according to the gentlemen.
"We do our best to incorporate that 'family feeling' within our department and division so that we provide the best working environment possible for our Sailors," said Scott.
Damage control is one of the most important components of ship life. Damage control assistant and ship's fire marshal are some high visibilty jobs on any ship.
"Because of these jobs Sailors always see us around the ship and I think they feel comfortable approaching us about anything from Hispanic culture, personal issues, or damage control," said Scott.
"I remember the days early in my Naval career when I was the only Hispanic in my division and sometimes my department," said Genao. "Now it's common to have several Hispanics working together in a department. I think that says a lot about the round turn the Navy took with its diversity initiative."
For more information from USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/, www.facebook.com/USSTheodoreRoosevelt, or www.twitter.com/TheRealCVN71.