During National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated from Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, the Corps of Engineers recognizes Hispanic Americans’ contributions to the Nation and celebrates their culture and heritage.
This year’s theme is: “Hispanics: One Endless Voice to Enhance our Traditions.”
The theme invites us to reflect on Hispanic American’s tradition, history and culture. Hispanic-Americans have had a profound and positive influence on our country through strong commitment to family, faith, hard work, and service.
Today, thousands of Hispanic-Americans serve in our civilian and military ranks to protect our nation. Whether their origins can be traced to Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, or one of dozens of other Spanish-speaking countries or cultures, they have defended America with unwavering valor and honor since the Civil War.
Within the Army Corps of Engineers, we have slightly less than a thousand members of Hispanic descent, and around 100 within the Southwestern Division. They serve in a wide variety of positions, across all career fields and pay grades, both civilian and in military uniform.
Our Army is decorated with over 60 Hispanic-American Medal of Honor recipients. In fact, 1959 West Point graduate, Captain Humbert “Rocky” Versace, posthumously received the award in 2002. Versace fought severely wounded until he was captured, tortured and abused for 23 months. During captivity he attempted to escape four times before he was isolated from other prisoners of war and ultimately executed. The last time his fellow soldiers heard his voice, he was singing “God Bless America.”
Our Nation’s strength comes from our diversity and Hispanic-Americans are a big part of that. This month we pay tribute and salute our proud Hispanic Heritage.
Mission → People → Teamwork PACESETTERS
Paul E. Owen, P.E.
Brigadier General, US Army Corps of Engineers
Commander, Southwestern Division