2017-09-29 / Front Page

Hispanic Heritage Month

Fort Gordon celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
STORY BY WILSON A. RIVERA
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office


Sgt. 1st Class Veronica Barcenas, the 15th Signal Brigade equal opportunity advisor, dances alongside her sister Monica Suarez showcasing their colorful Colombian dresses during a Hispanic Heritage Month command program held Sept. 21 at Alexander Hall. At the program’s start, individuals carried Hispanic, Latin, and Central American countries flags as they were called out to the stage, and also Borinqueneer veteran retired Staff Sgt. Miguel A. Vazquez-Gonzalez was recognized. 
PHOTO BY ALIA NAFFOUJ / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE Sgt. 1st Class Veronica Barcenas, the 15th Signal Brigade equal opportunity advisor, dances alongside her sister Monica Suarez showcasing their colorful Colombian dresses during a Hispanic Heritage Month command program held Sept. 21 at Alexander Hall. At the program’s start, individuals carried Hispanic, Latin, and Central American countries flags as they were called out to the stage, and also Borinqueneer veteran retired Staff Sgt. Miguel A. Vazquez-Gonzalez was recognized. PHOTO BY ALIA NAFFOUJ / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE The Army celebrates the contributions and sacrifices Hispanic Soldiers and civilians have made toward building and strengthening the Army and the United States of America.

The National Hispanic Heritage Month command program, which was sponsored by 15th Signal Brigade, was held Sept. 21 at Alexander Hall.

With more than 40 Medal of Honor recipients dating back to the Civil War, Hispanic Americans represent the military deep patriotism, more than 133,000 Hispanic American are currently serving, in the Armed Services. 66,000 of those are in active service, according to Lt. Col. Alton J. Johnson, commander for 551st Signal Battalion, 15th Signal Brigade.


Army retiree Miguel A. Vazquez-Gonzalez, who served with the 65th Infantry Regiment six decades ago, pauses for a picture Sept. 21 with Hispanic Heritage Month program organizer Sgt. 1st Class Veronica Barcenas, 15th Signal Brigade. 
PHOTO BY BILL BENGTSON / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE Army retiree Miguel A. Vazquez-Gonzalez, who served with the 65th Infantry Regiment six decades ago, pauses for a picture Sept. 21 with Hispanic Heritage Month program organizer Sgt. 1st Class Veronica Barcenas, 15th Signal Brigade. PHOTO BY BILL BENGTSON / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE “I hope this program not only informs you but also celebrates the contributions of Hispanic Soldiers, civilians, and their families,” said Johnson. “Just as America’s diversity has been one of the nation’s greatest strengths, the Army’s diverse force makes it stronger and more capable. Hispanic Soldiers continue the legacy of professionalism, selfless service, and courage that inspire generations to come.”

Dancers flood the Alexander Hall stage with color Sept. 21 during the command program for Hispanic
Heritage Month, with such countries as Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Honduras, Guatemala, Uruguay and
Argentina represented.PHOTO BY BILL BENGTSON / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE Dancers flood the Alexander Hall stage with color Sept. 21 during the command program for Hispanic Heritage Month, with such countries as Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Honduras, Guatemala, Uruguay and Argentina represented.PHOTO BY BILL BENGTSON / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE Part of the historic legacy is retired Staff Sgt. Miguel A. Vazquez-Gonzalez, a native of Ponce, Puerto Rico, who was a guest of honor during the program. Vazquez-Gonzalez reached the rank of staff sergeant and served in the Army’s 65th Infantry Regiment, a unit based out of Puerto Rico that was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 for its service in the Korean conflict. Soldiers in the 65th Inf. Regt. received more than 2,700 Purple Hearts, 600 Bronze Stars, 250 Silver Stars, nine Distinguished Service Crosses and one Medal of Honor.

“In our family, our dad and uncle Enrique Vazquez Gonzalez served with the Borinqueneers,” said Judith Vazquez-Lopez, daughter to Enrique who spoke in place of him. “We are proud to have two Borinqueneers in our family.”

The lobby in Alexander Hall provides a setting for music, a range of national costumes and plenty of
pictures Sept. 21, in preparation for Heritage Hispanic Month’s command program.PHOTO BY BILL BENGTSON / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE The lobby in Alexander Hall provides a setting for music, a range of national costumes and plenty of pictures Sept. 21, in preparation for Heritage Hispanic Month’s command program.PHOTO BY BILL BENGTSON / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE Judith read off comments he voiced earlier in the program since he was overcome with emotions during his recognition. “It’s an honor for me to be here with all of you, as well to be part of the 65th Infantry Regiment,” said Judith. “In the name of my dad, family, and Borinqueneers, thank you very much.”

The 15th Signal Bde. Equal Opportunity Advisor Sgt. 1st Class Veronica Barcenas produced a program to that would educate people about Hispanics, similar to Black History Month.

“Not many people know that there was a Hispanics segregated unit,” said Barcenas. “So I wanted to think about something more than just performances and present an educational piece. To be able to share with everyone our Hispanic heritage has been a real honor.”


As part of the Hispanic Heritage Month program Sept. 23 in Alexander Hall, a variety of items representing some of the Hispanic countries including flags, clothing and art were on display. 
PHOTO BY ALIA NAFFOUJ / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE As part of the Hispanic Heritage Month program Sept. 23 in Alexander Hall, a variety of items representing some of the Hispanic countries including flags, clothing and art were on display. PHOTO BY ALIA NAFFOUJ / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE The Borinqueneers are distinguished just as the Tuskegee Airmen, and Navajo Code Talkers.

From Sept. 15 to Oct.15, the Department of Defense joins the nation in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

During this time, the department and the nation honor the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The start of National Hispanic Heritage Month also marks the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The independence of Mexico and Chile are observed shortly thereafter, on Sept.16 and Sept. 18.

Event photos online at www.flickr.com/photos/fortgordon.


Alexander Hall’s stage is decked out to represent a variety of traditions Sept. 21 for Hispanic Heritage Month’s command program, touching on such countries as Argentina, Cuba, Paraguay, Uruguay, Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala.PHOTO BY BILL BENGTSON / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE Alexander Hall’s stage is decked out to represent a variety of traditions Sept. 21 for Hispanic Heritage Month’s command program, touching on such countries as Argentina, Cuba, Paraguay, Uruguay, Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala.PHOTO BY BILL BENGTSON / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE

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