ARABIAN GULF (Oct. 14, 2014) - Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with an observance held on the ship's mess decks, Oct. 14.
The celebration included a cake cutting ceremony and speeches from Capt. Alvin Holsey, Makin Island’s commanding officer, and Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Joe Espinosa, guest speaker for the event.
“When I think of diversity and breaking barriers, three words come to mind; Goals, Strength and Determination. Those are the things that dreams are made of, and those are the things that breed success,” said Holsey. “Although we are one nation under God, we are several faces and several cultures from different backgrounds all looking for an opportunity to achieve something greater.”
The theme for this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month is ‘A legacy of history, a present of action and a future of success.’
“I come from a large family,” said Espinosa. “We too are a family aboard Makin Island and we are able to help our brothers and sisters learn from our past, and succeed in our present mission.”
Espinosa continued, “Today we are carrying out our legacy to the future of our success so that the Sailors of tomorrow will be ready to relieve us when the time is ready.”
There are more than 80,000 active Hispanic Sailors and Marines serving in the armed forces today.
“Today’s ceremony was very influential,” said Logistics Specialist 1st Class Christian Torres, from Aguas Calientes, Mexico. “Hispanics have always played a major role in the military and it makes me proud of my heritage and it was great seeing the diversity among us.”
“I am half Mexican and half Chinese,” said Cpl. Laura Raga, from Ft. Worth, Texas, assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “Last month was the Asian Pacific Island heritage month and now I have gotten the opportunity to celebrate both sides of my heritage with the ceremony today.”
Hispanic Heritage Month traces its origins to Sept. 1968, when President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed a national Hispanic Heritage Week and was expanded in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan to include a month long celebration.
The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.