Yokosuka, Japan - With leadership from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month yesterday.
Put on annually by the NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka and DLA multi-cultural committee, the event recognizes the heritage and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
"It's important to recognize that it is our differences that make us stronger. We stand stronger when we are united, recognizing what each of us brings to the table," said NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Commanding Officer Capt. Jeffery Davis. "Days like today, we get an opportunity to celebrate and assign value to a culture that is rich and diverse and has contributed so much to our nation and our Navy."
Headquartered in Japan, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka has a diverse and blended workforce comprised of military members, civilians and foreign nationals. The event provided an opportunity for command personnel to experience a unique cultural perspective and learn about the heritage of Hispanic Americans, as the smell of traditional cuisine wafted through the air. It included a rich blend of activities, including educational readings, music and a flamenco dance demonstration.
Master Labor Contact Advisor Kumiko Toi, who has work at NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka for ten years, led the dance ensemble of Japanese foreign nationals and JMSDF sailors through the various handclapping and finger snapping moves of flamenco."
"I learned flamenco at 17 and danced with troops when I lived in the states," said Toi. "I like dancing and I wanted to use this as a tool to bring people together to have fun, without any negativity, and enjoy ourselves."
Observances such as the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration held in Yokosuka were developed by the U.S. Navy to increase awareness, mutual respect and understanding of the different cultures that comprise the sea service. It is observed annually from September 15th to October 15th to increase awareness, mutual respect and understanding. These types of events are designed to enhance cross-cultural awareness and promote harmony among all members of the workforce.
Guest speaker Chief Petty Officer Juan Avalos, a native of Los Angeles, joined the Navy in 2000. He reminded attendees about the many contributions Hispanics have made in the military.
"More than 15 percent of the active duty force is Hispanic and there are more the 43,000 when you combine military and civilian," said Avalos. "I'm proud to be Hispanic and to call myself Chicano. I'm proud of the heritage of our service in the Navy."
NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka is one of eight fleet logistics centers under NAVSUP Global Logistics Support (GLS). Headquartered just 26 miles south of Tokyo, it is the western Pacific region's largest U.S. Navy logistics command, networking more than 14 sites with a mission to deliver supply and logistics solutions that enable deployed maritime warfighter readiness in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
NAVSUP GLS provides global logistics for a global Navy. The organization is made up of approximately 6,300 military and civilian logistics professionals operating from 105 locations worldwide, providing an extensive array of integrated global logistics and contracting services to Navy, Marine Corps, joint operational units, and allied forces across all warfare enterprises.
NAVSUP provides U.S. naval forces with quality supplies and services. With headquarters in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and employing a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel, NAVSUP oversees logistics programs in the areas of supply operations, conventional ordnance, contracting, resale, fuel, transportation, and security assistance. In addition, NAVSUP is responsible for quality-of-life issues for naval forces including food service, postal services, Navy Exchanges, and movement of household goods.