PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 25.
The ceremony was held to celebrate the rich heritage and cultural diversity that Hispanic Americans have contributed to the country. Latinos, Hispanics and Chicanos have served the U.S. with distinction since the establishment of the Colonial Navy.
"Hispanics have been patriotic throughout our countries history," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class David Cano, from San Antonio. "The U.S. has provided so much opportunity for many Hispanics. I think it's important that the Navy recognizes contributions by different groups because it all comes back to the service to our country and the positive contributions we make to our country and Armed Forces."
One of the highlights of the ceremony included a traditional Latin dance by the George Washington Hispanic Dancers. The dance captured the rich and diverse cultures of Hispanic nations.
"I think we did a good job representing the different Hispanic cultures," said Aviation Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Janice Nieves, from Waynesboro, Ga. "It makes me really proud to be able to share our culture; Colombian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, we're all unique and have our own history and culture."
Several Sailors of Hispanic heritage participated in a cake-cutting with Capt. Greg Fenton, George Washington's commanding officer, at the end of the ceremony. The crew was then treated to a traditional Hispanic dinner consisting of tamales, burritos, empanadas, Spanish rice and desserts such as flan and churros.
"Our crew is comprised of many people with diverse backgrounds. This month we take the opportunity to celebrate the cultural heritage of our Hispanic crew members," said Fenton.
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated Sept. 15 - Oct. 15; the dates were chosen to encompass the Independence Day anniversaries of Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua.
"I think a lot of people enjoyed themselves," said Cano. "The music, food and festivities were great. Hispanics have a huge influence in American culture and it can be seen everywhere, even here on the ship."
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.