By OCPA & JFHQ-NCR/MDW Public AffairsSeptember 16, 2013
Hispanic Heritage Month begins on Sept. 15, the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared its independence on Sept. 16 and Chile on Sept. 18. Each year, the U.S. Army takes time to reflect on and celebrate the tremendous contributions of Hispanic Americans to its force and to the nation.
Some of the Army's prominent senior leaders proudly uphold the legacy of exceptional service begun by prior generations. The hard work and dedication of Soldiers like Under Secretary of the Army Joseph Westphal , Lt. Gen. Rhett Hernandez, Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry and, many other such Hispanic American service members, has greatly benefited America and its armed forces.
As a tribute, a tri-signed letter, was signed by the Secretary of the Army, the Chief of Staff and the Sergeant Major of the Army, encouraging units, agencies to plan and execute appropriate commemorative activities to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. The Army will also pay tribute to Hispanics by telling their stories in command information products at all levels. Army installations throughout the world will also honor its Hispanic American Soldiers through local events.
The Army encourages every member of the Army family to learn about and celebrate the contributions of all Hispanic Soldiers, families and civilians who have given so much to help safeguard the nation's freedom. Many events and activities are planned at numerous Army installations. The Army will continue to recruit the best qualified Soldiers of all backgrounds and will ensure that every Soldier is given the opportunity and encouragement to rise to his or her highest level of ability so they can be "Army Strong!"
Hispanic Soldiers have always served in the Army. During the Korean War, the Borinqueneers of Puerto Rico's 65th Infantry Regiment launched the last recorded battalion-sized bayonet charge and overran the Chinese 149th Division south of Seoul on Feb. 2, 1951. This battle exemplifies the unwavering courage and indomitable spirit that has earned the Hispanic American Soldiers a distinguished legacy. With more than 40 Medal of Honor recipients, dating back to the Civil War, Hispanic Americans continue to represent the Army with deep and abiding patriotism and heroism.