NORFOLK, Va. - (May 8, 2008) – Surface Warfare Officers and enlisted personnel throughout the Navy attended the 28th Annual Association of Naval Services Officers (ANSO) Symposium held at Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Little Creek, Va. April 28 to May 2.
ANSO, which was founded Feb. 12, 1981 by former Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Edward Hidalgo, is endorsed by the Chief of Naval Operations and promotes the advancement and recognition of Hispanic officers in the uniformed naval services.
More than 200 U. S. Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps military and civilian personnel attended the symposium including Rear Adm. Kevin Quinn, Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; Gen. James Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps; Vice Adm. Robert J. Papp, Jr., U.S. Coast Guard Chief of Staff; and various members of the naval surface forces diversity directorate.
The symposium began with a youth day event where ANSO members and local Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) high school students toured USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Porter (DDG 78) and Assault Craft Unit Two (ACU 2), where they were able to see a Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC).
“The Youth Day was not only beneficial to the NJROTC students, but it gave other services an opportunity to see some of the platforms the Navy has to offer,” said Ensign Karla Fuentes, from (ACU 2)
The ANSO symposium included professional lectures and presentations from renowned speakers including Ms. Alma Rojas, President of MANA (a national Latina organization); and Dr. Samuel Betances of Souder, Betances & Associates.
“Conference planners did an excellent job recruiting qualified speakers who positively impact the way I see diversity not just within the military, but in general,” said Ensign Juan Sanchez, from precommissioning unit (PCU) Stockdale (DDG 106).
Senior Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard leaders opened the conference with an open forum discussion regarding the importance of diversity in the military. Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Joe Campa, the first minority MCPON, and other senior enlisted service leaders, discussed the importance of diversity and the necessity to reach out to all communities as we look to man our future military.
“I was amazed at how many people were there with the goal of improving the way we do business in the Navy, said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW/FMF) Emiliano Torres, Mine Countermeasures Squadron 2 (COMCMRON 2). “It was great to see our senior leadership in the Navy come by and speak to how important diversity is for our success and to our future.”
Rear Adm. Kevin Quinn used the breaks in the symposium as an opportunity to speak with Surface Force Sailors.
“I am proud to serve with such diverse, superbly trained and led Sailors,” said Quinn. “They are grounded in our warrior ethos and core values, and their commitment to mission readiness and accomplishment makes our Surface Force the best in the world.”
Commanding Officer, Patrol Coastal Crew Lima, Lt. Cmdr. Tony said, "The ANSO conference was one of the most professionally fulfilling events I have attended in years. I had never seen, in a single event, the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps attend, entertain questions, and connect with the audience like they did for ANSO last week. I will continue to attend and participate in the organization not only to keep getting mentored, but to mentor junior officers and Sailors.”