United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: National Hispanic Heritage Month - 2012

National Hispanic Heritage Month - 2012
Published September 18, 2012

"Our Nation's story would not be possible without generations of Hispanics who have shaped and strengthened the fabric of our Union. They have enriched every aspect of our national identity."
- President Barack Obama

Top Stories

Officials Discuss Education Outreach for Hispanic Youth

The Defense Department's director of Diversity Management joined other senior government officials to discuss federal efforts to encourage young people of Hispanic descent to obtain the education and knowledge necessary to enter technical occupations.

Stephanie Miller took part in a panel discussion entitled "Filling the STEM Pipeline" during an education conference at the Ronald Reagan Building here today hosted by Latino Magazine. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The conference was among events held to mark National Hispanic Heritage Month, which began Sept. 15 and runs to Oct. 15. Story

DOD Artist Creates Hispanic Heritage Month Poster

Thumbnail: Peter Hemmer's poster highlighting the Defense Department's participation in National Hispanic Heritage Month. Graphic courtesy of the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute

When artist Peter Hemmer channeled his creative process to produce a poster highlighting the Defense Department's participation in this year's National Hispanic Heritage Month, he knew he wanted a one-of-a-kind design. Story

DOD Recognizes Hispanic-American Achievements

National Hispanic Heritage Month gives the Defense Department an opportunity to recognize the significant contributions made by the nation's Hispanic-Americans, said Stephanie Miller, DOD's Diversity Management director. Story

Defense Department Honors Hispanic American Service

The Defense Department is joining the nation in observing National Hispanic Heritage Month with a series of events to recognize the service of Hispanic Americans throughout the department. Story

Airman Credits Panamanian Roots for Military Success

Panamanian-American Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Yessica Lugo considers herself fortunate to be where she is today, given that a lot of her life could have turned out much differently. Story

'Golden Hour Box' Developer Reflects on Career

Thumbnail: Army Col. Frank Rentas, then a lieutenant colonel and the chief of the blood research center at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, preconditions the Golden Hour Human Blood Transport Container in 2003 at the center. Courtesy photo

One of the men who helped to invent a "box" that could save lives on the battlefield said he joined the Army for "three years -- tops."
"That was 31 years ago," Army Col. Francisco Rentas added with a smile, remembering what he said to his family gathered at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, on his way to basic training. "Everybody was crying, and I told them that it was for two or three years. I told them I would be back." Story


Related Stories

Profiles

Air Force Civilian
Ermelinda M. Rodriguez-Heffner

Profile photo: Air Force Civilian Ermelinda M.

Ermelinda M. "Erm" Rodriguez-Heffner is the director of manpower, personnel and services for the Air Force District of Washington. Profile

Air National Guard
Maj. Nicole P. Chavez

Profile photo: Air National Guard Maj. Nicole P. Chavez

Wyoming Air National Guard Maj. Nicole P. Chavez is the commander of the 153rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, Cheyenne. Profile

Army Maj. Carmen J. Rosado

Profile photo: Army Maj. Carmen J. Rosado

Carmen J. Rosado is a native of Lajas, Puerto Rico. Rosado entered the Army on April 8, 1998. She initially served as an enlisted soldier. Profile

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr.
Martha Rodriguez

Profile photo: Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Martha Rodriguez

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Martha Rodriguez is the deputy staff judge advocate for the Atlantic Area based in Portsmouth, Va. Profile

Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Vilma Diaz

Profile photo: Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Vilma Diaz

Vilma Diaz has participated in several deployments during her military career. In 2003, she deployed to South Korea. Profile

Navy Lt. Cmdr.
Danielle Villa-Lobos Hicks

Profile photo: Navy Lt. Cmdr. Danielle Villa-Lobos Hicks

Danielle Villa-Lobos Hicks is the deputy surgeon for Naval Surface Force Atlantic in Norfolk, Va., where she provides medical support. Profile


Name: Air Force Civilian Ermelinda M.

Air Force Civilian Ermelinda M. "Erm" Rodriguez-Heffner

Ermelinda M. "Erm" Rodriguez-Heffner is the director of manpower, personnel and services for the Air Force District of Washington, Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

Rodriguez-Heffner is responsible for supporting more than 37,000 military and Department of the Air Force civilians worldwide. She provides major command-equivalent manpower, personnel, and services support to Headquarters Air Force and Air Force elements in the White House, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff and Defense agencies in the National Capital Region and around the world.

Rodriguez-Heffner's office also provides expeditionary combat forces for Air Expeditionary Forces capability, and wartime customer support to Air Force personnel and their families.

She entered the Air Force's civil service workforce in 1989 under the Outstanding Scholar Program. Rodriguez-Heffner has held a variety of positions throughout the Air Force, including key assignments at the Air Force Personnel Center, overseas and across major commands.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in international business at California State University in Sacramento in 1989.

Among her numerous awards and citations, Rodriguez-Heffner received the 2006 Civilian of the Quarter award from the 375th Mission Support Squadron at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.; the 2006 Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, and the 2007 Exemplary Civilian Service Medal.

Name: Air National Guard Maj. Nicole P. Chavez

Air National Guard Maj. Nicole P. Chavez

Wyoming Air National Guard Maj. Nicole P. Chavez is the commander of the 153rd Logistics Readiness Squadron based in Cheyenne.

Chavez is responsible for training, equipping and preparing more than 120 airmen for wartime taskings.

Chavez began her military career on May 7, 1987, as a private in the Wyoming Army National Guard's 1022d Medical Company in Cheyenne. She served as an avionics mechanic for the UH-I helicopters, and later, UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

She enlisted in the Air National Guard in 1998 as a medical administrator. Chavez received her commission in the Wyoming Air National Guard in October 1999. Chavez has served as the commander of the 153d Mission Support Flight and commander of the 153rd Force Support Squadron where she was responsible for personnel, training, recruiting, student flight and food services.

Chavez deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. She also deployed twice to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Among her other awards, Chavez is the recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the Air Force and Army Commendation Medals.

Name: Army Maj. Carmen J. Rosado

Army Maj. Carmen J. Rosado

Army Maj. Carmen J. Rosado is a native of Lajas, Puerto Rico. Rosado entered the Army on April 8, 1998. She initially served as an enlisted soldier as a logistical specialist for four-and-a-half years.

After completing basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., and advanced individual training at Fort Lee, Va., Rosado served with the 299th Forward Support Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, in Schweinfurt, Germany, and deployed to Task Force Falcon during the Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo in 1999.

In 2000, Rosado served with the 514th Maintenance Company, 10th Mountain Division, in Fort Drum, N.Y. She completed the primary leadership development course in February 2001 at Fort Drum.

Rosado was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps through the Officer Candidates School program at Fort Benning, Ga., in May 2002. Rosado graduated from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico in 1996, with a bachelor's degree in marketing and business administration.

Later, Rosado was assigned to 501st Forward Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division in Friedberg, Germany. She served during the successful deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2005, she attended the Combined Logistic Captain's Course.

In 2006, Rosado was assigned as the planning officer for the 35th Support Battalion, Sagami Depot, Japan. While she was assigned to 35th CSSB, Rosado deployed as the first ever Latina officer in charge in the history of the 35th CSSB to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., in order to support the 2/25 Stryker Brigade for their NTC rotation in 2007-11.

Upon redeployment, Rosado served as the battalion's adjutant officer until 2008. Following her assignment to 16th Special Troops Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade in Bamberg, Germany. Later, she served as the commander for the Headquarters and Headquarters Company and Support Operation Division Liaison for 1st Armored Division and 25th Infantry Division Multi-National Division-North at Contingency Operating Base Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq.

Since May 2011, Rosado has served as the team chief for the 403rd/404th Regional Support Team, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, in Rock Island, Ill.

Rosado's military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and other awards.

Name: Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Martha Rodriguez

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Martha Rodriguez

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Martha Rodriguez is the deputy staff judge advocate for the Atlantic Area based in Portsmouth, Va.

Rodriguez attended Newcomb College of Tulane University in New Orleans, receiving a Bachelors of Arts degree in communication and environmental studies and a law degree from Tulane Law School with a specialization in environmental law.

She has worked as a Coast Guard attorney since 2001. Her previous positions within the Coast Guard have included working in the Office of Environmental Law and Office of Maritime and International Law as a staff attorney at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.; as a small passenger vessel inspector and a marine casualty investigator in Staten Island, N.Y., and for the Judge Advocate General's Office of Legal Policy and Program Development in Washington, D.C.

In her most-recent position, she supervised six budget and administrative staff members responsible for the coordination of headquarters administrative and legal support, as well as management of a combined $2.9 million budget. She was one of three attorneys responsible for the drafting and review of policy, procedure and implementation for the operation and improvement of command legal programs. She managed the Direct Commission Lawyer program to ensure robust recruitment and retention of diverse attorneys and interns through outreach to students and schools across the country.

In June 2012, Rodriguez reported to her current position as deputy staff judge advocate for Atlantic Area. Her office of five attorneys is responsible for command advice, ethics determinations, operational law, military justice, and legal assistance support to the Coast Guard's Atlantic Area units. The Atlantic Area includes over 14 million square miles of land encompassing 40 states, and over 4 million square miles of navigable water -- everything east of the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf, from Canada to the Caribbean Sea.

Rodriguez has served as the Coast Guard representative to the National Board of Directors for the Association for Naval Service Officers from May 2010 to August 2012, and also served as the secretary and vice president of the Washington, D.C., Hidalgo Chapter of ANSO, from May 2010 to May 2012.

Name: Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Vilma Diaz

Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Vilma Diaz

Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Vilma Diaz has participated in several deployments during her military career. In 2003, she deployed to South Korea, and in 2004 she served in the Philippines.

Diaz volunteered to assist in the tsunami relief effort in Indonesia. As a food service specialist during these deployments, she was responsible for food preparation and distribution for more than 2,000 Marines and many civilians.

Diaz was born in Newark, N.J. She enlisted in the Marine Corps and began recruit training on December 9, 2002. In March 2003, she reported to Marine Combat Training, Camp Geiger, N.C. After graduation, she then reported to Basic Food Service School at Fort Lee, Va.

In November 2007, Diaz attended the Noncommissioned Officers Food Service School at Fort Lee, finishing third in her class and received recognition as an honor student.

Since checking in as a recruiter in Colts Neck Township, N.J., Diaz has volunteered over 100 hours of her free time at local YMCAs and high schools as a mentor and tutor for young men and women.

Diaz is a 1st-degree Black Belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and she's training to become an instructor.

In April 2011, Diaz received recruiter's training in San Diego. She reported to Marine Corps Recruiting Station New Jersey in June 2011 and has worked at Recruiting Sub-Station Essex.

Diaz was recently cited for mentoring young children and fellow Marines.

Name: Navy Lt. Cmdr. Danielle Villa-Lobos Hicks

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Danielle Villa-Lobos Hicks

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Danielle Villa-Lobos Hicks is the deputy surgeon for Naval Surface Force Atlantic in Norfolk, Va., where she provides medical support and oversight to 84 operational seafaring platforms that provide security and stability across the globe.

Villa-Lobos Hicks was born at the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Va., where she attended grade school until relocating to Maryland in 1982. She graduated from Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, Md., in 1992. In 1996, she graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Community Health Education.

While completing an internship at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., she made the decision to attend graduate school with an aspiration to follow her father's footsteps, a retired Chief Petty Officer, and serve in the U.S. Navy. In 1998, Villa-Lobos Hicks graduated with a Master's Degree in public administration from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.

She was commissioned in the U.S. Navy in September 1999. Later, at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, she served as a division officer and assistant department head of patient administration. She later served as department head of patient administration at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Okinawa, Japan.

In 2005, Villa-Lobos Hicks transferred to the Naval Medical Education and Training Command in Bethesda. There, she developed and implemented curriculum, explored learning modalities, and provided adult education for more than 160 course hours of training to more than 400 joint military students.

As a senior leader and subject matter expert in her field, Villa-Lobos Hicks was hand-selected by the Navy Surgeon General to serve as the assistant patient administration specialty leader, responsible for the staffing of 85 billets and career development of 300 Medical Service Corps officers.

In 2012, she spearheaded the first Wounded, Ill and Injured Warrior Program at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and designed a state-of-the-art $5.2 million Wounded Warrior Patriots' Inn. The facility provided much-needed transitional living accommodations with 13 private rooms equipped with hotel style, queen-sized beds designed to allow wounded warriors to recuperate and reintegrate in a peaceful environment.

Additionally, administrative spaces were designed to provide a one-stop shop for service members to access Operational Liaison Offices, the Disability Evaluation System, Veterans Affairs providers, Navy Safe Harbor case managers and Naval Legal Service officers.

Villa-Lobos Hicks' awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and various unit awards. She is married and the mother of a daughter and a son.

Images

Video

Video: 2011 Medal of Freedom recipient Dolores Huerta is a civil rights, workers, and women's advocate. With Cesar Chavez, she co-founded the National Farmworkers Association in 1962, which later became the United Farm Workers of America. Huerta has served as a community activist and a political organizer, and was influential in securing the passage of California's Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, and disability insurance for farmworkers in California. In 2002, she founded the Dolores Huerta Foundation, an organization dedicated to developing community organizers and national leaders. In 1998, President Clinton awarded her the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights.

2011 Medal of Freedom Recipient Dolores Huerta

More Videos

Related Links

Additional Links

Stay Connected