Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devon Dow
YELLOW SEA – Guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) honored the contributions of the Hispanic community in the United States on the mess decks as they celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month Oct. 14.
Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated from Sept. 15-Oct. 15, recognizes those American citizens whose ancestors are from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America by honoring their histories, cultures and contributions to the United States.
For the Mustin’s celebration, the Hispanic cultures were represented though dance, music, food and speeches showcasing the diversity within the Hispanic community and highlighting their contributions to the fleet.
“Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is one of our many opportunities to recognize where we are from and to celebrate our diverse culture in the U.S. Navy,” said Cmdr. Joseph Ring, Mustin’s commanding officer. “Our diversity is one of our most critical strengths; we are a diverse, harmonic and unique maritime force of volunteers from all four corners of the world. Today we focus on our Hispanic ‘hermanos’ and ‘hermanas’ and everything they bring to our deck plates, our capability and our mission.”
Famous Hispanic American Sailors include David Glasgow Farragagut, the son of a Spanish immigrant, who became the Navy’s first admiral in 1866, Joe Campa, the Navy’s first Hispanic Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy and Hospital Corpsman Luis E. Fonseca Jr. who was awarded the Navy Cross for saving the lives of several Marines during operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
Mustin Sailors said the day’s event was a great way to recognize their heritage and honor the contributions made by the Hispanic community past and present.
“I think events like this are a great way to show just how diverse our Navy is,” said Gas Turbine System (Mechanical) 3rd Class Diana Leiva. “It was nice to be able to serve dishes from my culture at the event and teach my Shipmates about the many Hispanic countries and service members who contribute to the U.S.”
“I am very optimistic for our Spanish Shipmates and the imprints they will leave on our Navy’s combat team,” said Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW/FMF/SCW) Joshua Sandoval, the events guest speaker. “I encourage all of them to pass on the stories of their Navy experiences, they never know when their words could inspire and change the life of a Hispanic American.”
The observance of Hispanic Heritage month was originally established in 1968 as a week-long remembrance but extended to a month-long celebration in 1988 by President Ronald Raegan.
Mustin, commanded by Cmdr. Joseph Ring, is one of seven guided missile destroyers assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON 15) and is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.