Washington, DC - The Navy joins the nation in celebrating the contributions of Hispanic Americans during Hispanic Heritage Month September 15-October 15.

This year, the theme "Embracing, Enriching, and Enabling America," represents Hispanic Americans walking together with those who share in the honor of calling this nation home.

"It is an honor for me to carry on the legacy of millions of Hispanic Americans who have gone before me in service to our nation," said Rear Adm. Moises DelToro III, deputy commander for Undersea Warfare, Naval Sea Systems Command and commander, Naval Undersea Warfare Center.

The observation began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson. In 1988, it was expanded by President Ronald Reagan to cover a 30-day period, paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society. The unique dates of this heritage month were chosen to encompass the Independence Day anniversaries for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Chile.

"Throughout my career, I've been privileged to lead diverse teams of Sailors and civilians to design, operate, and maintain some of the most technologically advanced ships and systems in the world," said DelToro III. "Our Navy maintains its competitive advantage thanks to the professionalism and dedication of the combined team."

There are more than 57,000 Hispanic Sailors currently serving in the Navy and more than 16,000 Hispanic civilian employees working for the Department of the Navy (DoN). Making up a total of 15 percent of the Navy, 2.5 percent are serving as flag officers and 11 percent represent the E8-E9 leadership. Representation is present in every rank and in a wide variety of career fields to include fighter pilots, physicians, nuclear engineers, policy makers, boatswains and corpsmen.

Hispanic Americans have served at sea in every war of our nation's history. There are many Hispanic Americans that helped pave the way for some of today's current Hispanic leadership.

Senior leaders serving in the Navy today, who are Hispanic American, are:

Rear Adm. Moises DelToro III, Deputy Commander for Undersea Warfare, Naval Sea Systems Command and Commander, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, grew up in South Bend, Indiana and enlisted in the Navy in 1980. He was commissioned in 1987 and commenced his career as a submarine officer.

Rear Adm. Christina Alvarado, Commander, Reserve Component Expeditionary Medicine, is a registered nurse and has worked in the clincal areas of orthopedics, neurosurgery and intensive care. She was the first nurse to command Naval Reserve Expeditionary Medical Facility Dallas One, a commissioned unit whose mission is expeditionary medicine. In 2008 she launched a business consulting company focusing on health policy and strategy solutions in a dynamic market.

Rear Adm. Peter J. Clarke, Joint Task Force, Guantanamo, following an assignment as deputy director, Joint Interagency Task Force South. Clarke was born in Panama City, Panama, but grew up in Richmond, Virginia. He is a career submarine officer.

Rear Adm. Linda Wackerman, Deputy Naval Inspector General, was commissioned from Aviation Officer Candidate School and designated a naval aviator in October 1987. She is currently the vice-chairman for the Secretary of the Navy's National Navy Reserve Policy Board.

Rear Adm. Christopher Murray, commander, Naval Safety Center was commissioned from Aviation Officer Candidate School and designated a naval aviator in October 1985. He completed training in the F-14A Tomcat in October 1986.

The Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute provides printable posters, presentation, guidance for organizing observance, and education facts on their website, http://www.deomi.org/  under the section "Special Observances."