Friday, October 07, 2011

Naval Base Coronado Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

By Aviation Machinist’s Mate Airman Amanda Huntoon, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Naval Base Coronado celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with traditional music and cuisine at Naval Air Station North Island, Oct. 6.

The nation observes Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the contributions Hispanics have made to the country, and to celebrate their culture and heritage. This year marks the 23rd year of the national observance, which begins Sept. 15 and ends Oct. 15. This year's theme is "Many backgrounds. Many stories. One American spirit."

Naval Surface Forces Force Chaplain, Capt. Emilio Marrero, said the significance of heritage observations cannot be understated.

"We have these celebrations, so we can look at the past and see where it has taken us presently, and where it will take us in the future," said Marrero, the event's guest speaker. "It is a story that needs to be told because we came together, despite our differences, to serve as Americans. It celebrates the diverse community that we are as a Navy."

"I am excited for this Hispanic Celebration and for the growth the Hispanic heritage has in leadership positions, not only in our country, but in our Navy," said Naval Base Coronado Commanding Officer Capt. Yancy B. Lindsey.

The festivities included a guest performance by Montgomery High School's Mariachi Band, who entertained the crowd of Sailors and civilians with traditional Hispanic music. This was followed by a buffet with authentic Mexican cuisine, and a "Top Chef" competition for best prepared dish.

"We celebrate the different cultural events to recognize the contributions that each culture has given to the United States Navy," said Chief Yeoman Lewis Jiggets, assigned to Naval Base Coronado's Administration Office. "The event was perfect and everyone had a great time."

Currently there are over 43,000 Hispanic Sailors serving in the United States Navy who come together from various Hispanic cultures for one common purpose, to protect and serve.

Wounded Warriors Participate in 2011 United States Olympic Committee Paralympics

Be inspired by this wounded warrior book, written by a military hero who sacrificed a lot and still refused to give up!

By Electrician’s Mate Fireman Yasmine Muhammad, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Balboa Naval Medical Center San Diego hosted the 2011 United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Paralympics Military Sports Camp for Wounded Warriors Oct. 3-5.

The USOC Paralympics Military Sports Camp is organized to introduce Paralympics sports to former and active duty service members who have been wounded in the line of duty.

"The purpose is to get these guys back in the game," said Todd Hatfield, a paralympics coach. "When you sustain an injury in Afghanistan or Iraq and you're put on the sidelines, you think, 'I played basketball before but now I can't,' and there are a lot of opportunities out there that they don't know about."

We're trying to introduce them to these things and hope they carry them back to the community and get involved on a local team or a local program, said Hatfield. Archery, basketball, a biathlon, cycling, rowing sitting volleyball, strength and conditioning, swimming and track and field were offered at the event attended by service members from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corp, Air Force, Army and Coast Guard.

"When I got injured, I never thought I would walk again, let alone play sports," said Harrison Ruzicka, prior Army soldier, who was wounded and now has a prosthetic leg. "To get back into athletics on a scale that is so much more than before is unbelievable and something that I never thought was possible."

Ruzicka went on to say that the Paralympics camp has made a significant impact on his life.

Many participants showed enthusiasm after being reintroduced into the world of sports and used the camp as a healing tool to help recover from their injuries.

"It's definitely the coolest thing that is available to wounded warrior," said Ruzicka. "It's the chance to get back to not just normalcy but back to the things you love to do, and things that brought you to the military: good people, good things and great programs."