By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Michelle N. Rasmusson
SOUTH CHINA SEA (Oct. 6, 2012) Sailors aboard the forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) participated in a Hispanic Heritage Month Ceremony Oct. 6.
The U.S. Navy is strengthened by the diversity of its Sailors, and the Navy encourages every individual to embrace their heritage to allow them to reach their full potential. Hispanic Americans have served with honor and merit in almost every at-sea conflict in American history dating as far back as the War of 1812.
Senior Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) David Jimenez, one of the ceremony’s guest speakers, stressed the important contributions that Sailors of Hispanic descent bring to the ship and the unique culture that they share.
“Our culture is alive and is vibrant; whether it is the smile of a child in Argentina, the sweat of a football player in Mexico, the beautiful smile of a Caribbean woman or anywhere in-between, we are always present with our distinct fiestas, food and music, welcoming everyone to join us as family,” said Jimenez.
Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Yaralis DeJesus, who has roots from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, when asked why celebrating Hispanic heritage is important, said, “It means that it’s a day where everyone from my culture can get together to talk about our similarities.”
During the ceremony, several Sailors of Hispanic heritage participated in a cake-cutting with Capt. G. J. Fenton, George Washington’s commanding officer. After the cake-cutting, Sailors were treated to a wide variety of Latin music.
“It’s important to acknowledge the different racial backgrounds that we have to develop understanding,” said Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Vanessa Chacon. “These events allow us to learn from each other and become a stronger team.”
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.
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its partners and allies in the Asia-Pacific region.
For high resolution photos of USS George Washington (CVN 73), click on our new Flickr website at http://www.flickr.com/photos/uss_george_washington/