Post to celebrate Hispanic heritage
Maj. Gen. James M. Milano is Fort Jackson's commanding general.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Hispanic Heritage Month officially began Sept. 15 to coincide with the anniversaries of seven Latin American countries: Mexico, Chile, Cost Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua gaining their independence.

The monthlong celebration continues into October. Fort Jackson will observe the occasion Oct. 15 at Patriot Park with the Soldier Support Institute serving as our host. The event, which is titled, "Many Backgrounds, Many Stories. One American Spirit," promises to be as entertaining as it is educational.

There will also be cultural displays, music and refreshments for all to enjoy. This is one of the most festive events that we celebrate and one that you certainly will not want to miss.

It is important that we take the time to understand the many cultures that make up our ranks. We are a very diverse nation, made up of many cultures, but each and every one of us is very much an American. The world takes note and stands in awe of the American Army when they see men and women from many diverse backgrounds working in harmony to support our military objectives around the globe.

As for Hispanic contributions to our military, they are significant and rich in tradition. They can be traced back to the American Revolution, when an officer in the Spanish Regiment in Louisiana supported the colonial forces in their fight for independence from Great Britain by providing cattle and weapons.

Since that time, Hispanic Americans have played a vital role in every one of our wars, in every battle and in every fight. In all of our nation's storied history, there have been countless contributions by Hispanics. Consider that since the Civil War, there have been more than 40 Hispanic service members who have earned the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award.

The bottom line is that Hispanics, who have come from all walks of life, have always served and continue to serve the United States proudly.

During Hispanic Heritage Month, we have not only set a time aside for recognition, but also an opportunity for enrichment.

We can get an understanding of the Hispanic culture, the heritages and background. We can learn something about one another, from one another.

This approach applies across the board to all cultures, races and genders.

Since the 1940s, the Army has been at the forefront in the integration of ranks, and we continue to build on that attribute. Women, racial and ethnic minorities continue to enter our Army, along with an increasing number of foreign nationals. We are truly a multinational force currently serving in nearly 80 countries.

The Army channels the strengths of diverse people, valuing individuals and developing Soldiers. As our country becomes even more diverse, the Army will have more opportunities to recruit, develop and retain the best talent in the world. Hispanic Soldiers comprise nearly 6 percent of our officers, 8 percent of our warrant officers, 12 percent of our enlisted Soldiers and 6 percent of our Army civilian workforce.

Let us take pride in the Hispanic heritage and take the time to value all of the distinctive talent and valuable experiences Soldiers with Hispanic backgrounds bring to our Army.

Army Strong and Victory Starts Here!

Page last updated Wed September 21st, 2011 at 00:00