PHILIPPINE SEA -- The Multicultural Committee aboard amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) hosted an event to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month while on deployment in the Western Pacific Sept. 22.
Sailors and Marines aboard Tortuga had the opportunity to learn about Hispanic Heritage Month while enjoying nachos, ice cream, games, a pinata and a movie during Nacho Night on the mess decks.
"The first goal of the multicultural committee is to recognize and share all cultural differences," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Brandon Moffett. "We all know that we have many different cultures in the military and we can learn from one another."
In Sept. 1968, Pres. Lyndon Johnson established National Hispanic Heritage Week and, in 1988, Pres. Ronald Reagan expanded the week and created Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 to honor the histories, cultures and contributions of Americans who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
During the event, Hospitalman Ana Garcia de Dios, shared her experiences about becoming a Sailor and an American citizen.
"There's something about America and it's different and it's special, and I am very proud to call it my home," said Garcia. "I made the decision to become an American because I saw that people could be themselves. I'm proud to be serving in the Navy, and I'm proud because I know Americans understand the importance of liberty and democracy."
Today, nearly 50,000 Sailors identify themselves as Hispanic and the Navy values the diversity of ideas, experiences, areas of expertise and backgrounds that are necessary for the Navy to fulfill a variety of missions.
Tortuga is part of the forward-deployed Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group and is currently operating the 7th Fleet Area of Operations.