Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month - it's what makes us strong

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Shineta Clarke, 45th Space Wing Equal Opportunity
At Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, during Hispanic Heritage month, we recognize the many men and women who make sacrifices to ensure that we continue to be the World’s Premier Gateway to Space. 

Each year there are celebrations that capitalize on the monumental progression of those who contributed to the diversity of our country and our military.

Hispanic American, Dr. Ellen Ochoa is one of the many individuals who’ve made an impact in American history. She traveled to space four times with a total of 1,000 hours in space. She helped make the space mission possible for all of us.
She was the first Hispanic woman that went into Space serving on the STS-56 aboard the space shuttle discovery in 1993. 

With an education in physics and electrical engineering, Dr. Ochoa was the perfect crew member to deploy on the mission. As the technical expert, she did amazing things for the space mission and she was recognized with some of NASA’s highest awards like the Exceptional Service medal, to name a few.
We know diversity and inclusion makes us strong, both as an Air Force and as a nation. 

Diversity at Patrick and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is vital to the continuation and progress among the many Airmen who make up this amazing Air Force. Without it, we would not continue to grow as a force and continue getting rockets into space. 

The Department of Defense shows its appreciation for all of our service members, DOD civilians and their families with several observances like Hispanic Heritage Month. 

Special annual observances are enacted by law, from the President, to be celebrated by all Americans. There are nine Department of Defense approved special observances: Martin Luther King’s Birthday in January, National African-American/ Black History Month in February, Women’s History Month in March, Holocaust Remembrance Day in April, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May, Women’s Equality Day on August 26, Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 - October 15, National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October and Native-American Heritage Month in November.

These observances are dedicated to celebrate and remember the achievements of these American groups. Every year from September 15 - October 15, Americans celebrate the contributions that Hispanic Americans have made to this country like Dr. Ellen Ochoa. This month allows Americans to gain perspective and appreciation for the Hispanic presence in our culture. 

The Air Force Diversity and Inclusion policy talks about diversity of background, experience, demographics, perspectives, thought and organization, and how essential they are to our ultimate success in an increasingly competitive, dynamic and global environment.

As Airmen and citizens, we must be culturally competent and operationally relevant to effectively accomplish our various missions. As an NCO in the world’s most powerful military, it is with great honor that I serve along people who are different from myself. The contributions that each group brings ensures that we will continue to grow bigger, better and stronger. I am very proud to serve next to my brothers and sisters in arms from all over. We will thrive with unity!