Pearl Harbor, Hawaii - As Latin music played in the background and a variety of Hispanic themed dishes were served, Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Pearl Harbor personnel gathered to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the historic Sharkey Theater, Wednesday.
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from 15 September to 15 October, by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. 15 September was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on 16 and 18 September, respectively.
Opening remarks began with chaplain, Lt. Keith Russell, leading with a moment of silence for all those impacted by the natural disasters that struck Mexico and Puerto Rico, followed by a prayer.
Joint Base Pearl harbor-Hickam service members represented various Latin American countries to provide insight on the diverse cultures.
Logistics Specialist 1st Class Maria Garcia, NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor Diversity Committee member, presided over the event and represented Puerto Rico. Dressed in a white guayabera shirt and a red flowy skirt, she displayed traditional clothing of the country. The guayabera shirt is among Puerto Rico's most prevalent traditional garments, still commonly worn today.
"It is important that we celebrate and recognize our diversity" said Garcia. "It informs us how other people live, and how they work together and makes us more aware of what we can accomplish together."
Senior Master Sergeant Monica Strong, 647th Logistics Readiness Squadron, represented Peru in a traditional black and gold dress, highlighting facts about the country as Peruvian music played in the background.
"It is very important we celebrate heritage from around the world because today's military consists of all colors, cultures and people of the world" said Strong. "Celebrations are not only a time to remember, but also an opportunity to educate other cultures."
There are more than 57,000 Hispanic American Sailors, as well as more than 16,000 Hispanic American civilian employees working for the Department of the Navy. Making up a total of 15 percent of the Navy, 2.5 percent are serving as flag officers and 11 percent represent the E8-E9 leadership. Representation is present in every rank and in a wide variety of career fields.
A diverse workforce positions the Navy to operate successfully around the globe by bringing together Sailors and civilians with different ideas, experiences, perspectives, capabilities and skill sets. Integrating Sailors and civilians from diverse backgrounds into the force allows the Navy to recruit and retain the nation's top talent from a wider pool of skilled personnel.
NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor is one of eight fleet logistics centers under NAVSUP GLS, which provides global logistics, business and support services to fleet, shore and industrial commands of the Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Air Force, Army, and allied forces. Services include contracting, regional transportation, fuel, material management, household goods movement support, postal and consolidated mail, warehousing, global logistics and husbanding, hazardous material management and integrated logistics support.
NAVSUP GLS provides global logistics for a global Navy. The organization is made up of more than 6,300 military and civilian logistics professionals operating from 105 locations worldwide providing an extensive array of integrated global logistics and contracting services to Navy, Marine Corps, joint operational units, and allied forces across all warfare enterprises.