USS UNDERWOOD - At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Underwood (FFG 36) organized an event and dinner to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month, Oct. 19, while deployed to U.S. 4th Fleet and supporting Operation Martillo.
Two naval officers representing Argentina and Peru, temporarily assigned to U.S. Navy Destroyer Squadron Four Zero (DESRON 40), and an Underwood chief petty officer spoke to the crew about the Hispanic culture.
"When we say 'Hispanic,' whom are we talking about?" asked Chief Logistics Specialist Josue Negron. "For sure, they are not one nationality, nor one culture. Instead, Hispanics are a greatly diverse people. Their cultural and linguistic origins are Spanish and Latin American, regardless of race and color."
Negron went on to share some of the history of Spanish exploration and colonization in the Americas as well as some of the accomplishments of modern-day Hispanics including a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a surgeon general, and 10 astronauts.
After the speakers addressed the crew about Hispanic heritage, Underwood's Diversity Team cooked a dinner of quesadillas, tacos, rice, and beans.
"I think it's very important to take time to recognize and celebrate, not only Hispanic heritage, but different cultures that make up the U.S. and the Navy," said Yeoman 1st Class Jose Carrion Rodriguez who helped cook the chicken quesadillas.
"It shows our diversity and our strength as the world's greatest Navy. The Diversity Team holds different celebrations throughout the year as a way to get the crew involved, bring up morale, and to inform the rest of the crew of the different cultures and diversity we have here in our Navy," Rodriguez added.
Underwood is deployed to Central and South America, and the Caribbean in support of Operation Martillo and U.S. 4th Fleet's mission, Southern Seas 2012.
U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
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