USS Nimitz Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

USS Nimitz Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Sailors and Marines gathered in the hangar bay aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Oct. 8.

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. Opening remarks were made my Rear Adm. Michael S. White, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11.

“I would like to thank the many Sailors and the Marines that put this great event together tonight,” said White. “It’s going to be fantastic. I think it’s going to truly demonstrate to each of us the strength that we gain from a diversity of ideas and thoughts that emerge when we bring our many cultures together. I appreciate all that have come down here tonight to share in this experience.”

The celebration included a culture attire display, various musical performances and multiple types of cultural dances such as “Bachata,” “Merengue,” “Salsa” and “Cumbia,” which were all put together and performed by Sailors and Marines aboard Nimitz.

“I grew up learning Mexican and Guatemalan cultures,” said Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Julia Barrios. “It was very different learning those cultures growing up in the United States as opposed to actually being there. The celebration brought back memories of weddings, quinceañeras and other Hispanic celebrations I grew up with. It’s nice to remember where I came from.”

Guest speakers Senior Chief Yeoman David Garcia and Lt. Michael Bautista both spoke about the history of Hispanic Americans, the first Hispanic Americans in the Navy and their accomplishments, along with the current Hispanic Americans serving in our military.

“Being part of the celebration was a great way to express ourselves and show the crew what our roots and cultures are like back home,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Alberto Perez Badillo. “It’s a very different lifestyle on the ship and in the states compared to where we’re from.”

Capt. Jeff Ruth, Nimitz’ commanding officer, made the closing remarks at the event.

“Observances like this are designed so that we can increase our understanding of cultural diversity of our men and women in uniform and to promote mutual respect,” said Ruth. “It was also designed to encourage interaction amongst our Sailors from different races, genders, religions and cultures through the recognition of the Hispanic community’s achievements and contributions to the United States Navy and society.”

Following the event, a reception was held on the aft mess decks.

“The celebration was very informative and I learned a little more about the Hispanic culture I didn’t know about,” added Barrios. “It was a nice distraction from the normal day-to-day routine of things on the ship.”

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.

Press Release, October 15, 2013; Image: US Navy