By Brig. Gen. James Bonner, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general
The United States of America is an incredibly diverse nation. Woven into our country’s fabric are the nearly 60 million people that make up our Hispanic population. Between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15, we get to celebrate their rich culture and history during National Hispanic Heritage Month.
You cannot tell the story of the United States military without mentioning our Hispanic population. Dating all the way back to the Civil War, Hispanic Americans have earned more than 400 Medals of Honor while heroically defending our Constitution and the idea that all men and women are created equal.
In today’s military, Hispanics are taking on greater and greater roles throughout the joint force. While they already make up about 16 percent of the active force, Hispanics are also the military’s fastest-growing demographic.
The diversity of our military is our greatest strength. The wealth of ideas brought on by our varied backgrounds, beliefs and cultures allow us to identify problems and create solutions faster than any fighting force in the world. Leaders need to foster environments where all of our teammates are treated equally. By ensuring that all of our teammates feel included, we can tap into the full spectrum of our available talent.
Therefore, during this National Hispanic Heritage Month, I urge you to embrace the diversity of our Hispanic service members. Provide our Hispanic teammates a forum to talk about their experiences in both the military and the United States and remember that we are all responsible for building and maintaining a culture that treats everyone with dignity and respect. Please enjoy this incredible month as we celebrate our Hispanic teammates.
Victory Starts Here — Victory Through Skill