USS Makin Island
“Gung Ho”
Makin Island Sailors Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
151020-N-ZZ999-024 SAN DIEGO (Oct. 20, 2015) Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Maria , from Caracas, Venezuela, Chief Logistics Specialist Daisy Ortega, from Santa Ana, California,  Information Systems Technician 1st Class Samuel Bonilla, from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, Logistics Specialist 2nd Class , from Odessa, Texas and Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Bianca Munoz, from Riverside, California cut a ceremonial cake on the mess decks aboard amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) in honor of Hispanic Heritage month. Makin Island is in a phased maintenance availability in San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Clark Lane/Released)
Makin Island Sailors Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Clark Lane, USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO - Sailors assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) assembled to observe Hispanic Heritage Month on the ship’s mess decks.

Makin Island Sailors of Hispanic heritage shared stories of growing up in the Hispanic culture and spoke about the importance of diversity on the ship and in the military.

“Diverse cultures and talent doesn’t just benefit any individual Sailor, it benefits the Navy as a whole,” said Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Tarell Drayton, a Makin Island Sailor from Chicago.

The Navy Office of Diversity and Inclusion indicates that more than 58,000 Hispanic active duty and reserve Sailors serve in the United States Navy.

Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Teresa Lopez from Grand Prairie, Texas, commented on how her Hispanic heritage has contributed to her life growing up and as a Sailor.

“The culture I know, that shaped me as a person, is one of close family relationships,” said Lopez. “As Sailors, we’re always around each other working hard and sharing challenges, so we build that same kind of connection with each other.”

Observance of Hispanic Heritage began Sept. 17, 1968, when President Lyndon B. Johnson designated a week in mid-September as National Hispanic Heritage Week. Twenty years later in 1988, President Ronald Reagan extended that week to a month-long observance.

Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Maria Sardono from Caracas, Venezuela, expressed how important recognizing cultural diversity within the Navy means to her success.

“Hispanic Heritage Month is one of many opportunities for all of us to understand and value not just the incredible contributions of the past, but to celebrate the diversity that unites America’s Navy,” said Sardono.

Senior Chief Sardono recently advanced to Senior Chief Petty Officer.  She and Sailors in attendance participated in a ceremonial cake cutting at the conclusion of the event.

Makin Island is in the final stretch of a phased maintenance availability at Naval Base San Diego.
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