As of June 2018, approximately 59,000 active and Reserve Sailors of Hispanic heritage serve in the U.S. Navy contributing to the strength of the nation’s force. Hispanic Americans’ military service dates back to the Civil War.
The tradition of observing Hispanic heritage began in 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.
The heritage month’s dates refer to Independence Day anniversaries of Latin American countries – September 15 is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico declared its independence September 16, and Chile September 18.
The Navy is strengthened by the diversity of its force as it underlines that patriots of Hispanic American Heritage continue to build legacies of freedom and diversity as they fight for the security of the country and the peace of the world.
The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Farragut (DDG-99) sails in the Atlantic Ocean, 26 June 2016 (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Wilkes, 160626-N-TO519-165).