OCTOBER 11, 2016, PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) – Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC) service members attended a two-hour Hispanic Heritage Month ceremony Oct. 7 in the facility’s Charles A. Taylor Hangar.
Organized by the NATTC Command Diversity Council (CDC), the observance included presentations from CDC members as well as a speech from guest speaker Grace Resendez-McCaffery, president of Latino Media Gulf Coast, Inc. She is also the National Hispanic Corporate Achievers’ North Florida ambassador, and has been instrumental in creating awareness for the Hispanic community in Pensacola.
Commanding Officer Capt. Hugh Rankin said the command’s observance of Hispanic Heritage Month is an integral part of showcasing the diversity of the United States Navy to the thousands of students attending classes at the command.
“The U.S. Navy takes pride in its cultural diversity, and at NATTC we strive to instill this sense of pride into our young Sailors,” he said. “Celebrating our differences and learning about one another’s culture and beliefs only makes us a better organization.”
Instructor and CDC member Petty Officer 1st Class Wilmer Ramos said he was proud to be a part of the event.
“It is imperative that we not forget our greatest asset in our country is diversity,” Ramos said. “The Hispanic heritage celebration, just like the different groups we honor year round, is the Navy’s way of recognizing that we all come from different backgrounds and we should celebrate these differences in an inclusive venue to better understand our fellow Sailors. This ensures our mission readiness, and I am proud to be a part of it.”
National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed each year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens of Spanish, Mexican, Caribbean, and Central and South American descent. The observation, originally called Hispanic Heritage Week, began in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson, but was expanded to 30 days in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan.
The dates chosen for Hispanic Heritage Month have significance in the Hispanic culture. Sept. 15 is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico’s Independence Day is Sept. 16, Chile’s Independence Day is Sept. 18, and Columbus Day or Dia de la Raza is Oct. 12 — all of which fall within this 30-day period.
The NATTC CDC organizes events to raise cultural awareness, morale, and understanding.
For more than 70 years, NATTC has been providing training and increasing readiness within the Naval Aviation Enterprise. The facility graduates approximately 24,000 Navy, Marine Corps and international students annually and is the largest training facility in the Navy post Recruit Training Command.