Misawa Sailors celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan (NNS) -- Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72's Heritage Committee held a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, here Sept. 24, highlighting the contributions of Hispanics throughout the history of the U.S. Navy.
The event was held as part of the nationally recognized Hispanic Heritage Month which is observed from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 and dedicated to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.
Hispanic American Sailors stationed here, shared stories about their lives, cultures, inspirational Hispanic American Sailors, personal reasons for serving, and proud moments while on active duty.
Cmdr. Craig Mattingly, CTF-72's chief staff officer, was the celebration's guest speaker and shared the history of the famous Hispanic American Adm. David Farragut. Farragut's father was born on the Spanish island of Menorca and later immigrated to America in 1776. He is famous for his victory during the Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay and his quote, "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead."
Farragut was thanked by Congress for his victory and the rank of vice admiral was created for him by President Abraham Lincoln, Dec. 31, 1864. On July 25, 1866, by Congressional Act, he was later commissioned an admiral, the first officer of the U.S. Navy to hold that rank.
The ceremony celebrated the U.S. Navy's diversity and the way Sailors from many different cultures have worked together since the organization's establishment in 1775.
"Diversity is a key element to what makes our Navy strong," said Mattingly. "The service and sacrifice of the Latino and Hispanic Americans to our great nation is humbling. The CTF-72 Heritage Committee did a fantastic job orchestrating the memorable event. It was an honor to celebrate with all hands here in Misawa."
Chief Construction Mechanic Willie Martinez-Avila and Aerographer's Mate 2nd Class Bonita Edwards, both Mexican Americans, shared their stories during the celebration.
The dates chosen for Hispanic Heritage Month observance are significant. Sept. 15 is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days Sept. 16 and 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Da de la Raza, which is Oct. 12, falls within this 30 day period.
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