USS NEW ORLEANS, At sea - Sailors and Marines deployed aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) celebrated Women's History Month with a celebration hosted by the ship's diversity committee, March 22.
In keeping with the nationwide theme of this year's observance, the focus of the celebration was on "Women's Education - Women's Empowerment."
During the ceremony, Sailors and Marines created a link between their ship and Women's History Month by speaking about influential women from the state of Louisiana and their accomplishments recorded in American history.
Subjects included Audrey Patterson, the first African-American woman to win an Olympic medal, and musician Mahalia Jackson.
"The stories of women's achievements are integral to the fabric of our history," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuel) 2nd Class Borith Prom, a guest presenter during the ceremony. "The fight for education was a fearless struggle waged by many determined women across different cultures in our country."
Prom said that unlike during the years of the women's rights movement, women actually outnumber the men in college enrollment in today's society.
"Women's tenacity, courage, and strength throughout the centuries are a remarkable source of inspiration," said Prom.
To conclude the ceremony, members of the diversity committee handed out paper flowers to attendees, symbolizing the struggle for women's equality. A cake-cutting ceremony on the mess deck was also part of the ceremony.
Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Mary Ann De Castro, who prepared the cake for the ceremony, said women's history has played a major role in her life.
"I couldn't be here without those who came before me," said De Castro. "I'm grateful for their sacrifices, and their stories have helped shape who I am today."
New Orleans and embarked Marines assigned to the 11th MEU are deployed as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.