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Defense Department Honors Hispanic American Service

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2012 – Events to recognize the service of Hispanic Americans, both military and civilian, will highlight the Defense Department’s observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.

The observance include events to inform the Hispanic community about career opportunities within the department, as well as outreach by military leaders, officials from DOD’s Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity said.

Hispanics make up 11 percent of active-duty military and nearly 17 percent of new recruits, the officials added.

“The Department of Defense is committed to honoring and recognizing the Hispanic Americans who have and continue to serve in the defense of our nation and simultaneously contribute to shaping the culture of the United States,” said Clarence A. Johnson, DOD’s director of diversity management and equal opportunity.

National Hispanic Heritage Month dates back to 1968’s Hispanic Heritage Week. It was expanded to 30 days by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. The observance begins Sept. 15 to coincide with the date in 1821 that five Latin-American countries -- Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua -- declared their independence from Spain. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence on Sept. 16 and 18, respectively.

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