In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, the Tester has been highlighting Hispanic Americans' contributions to the U.S. Navy.
Last week's issue looked at Precision Strike Weapons Program Office (PMA 201) chief engineer Juan Ortiz and his successes in mentoring and shaping upcoming engineers. Other Tester issues during the month highlighted a few Hispanic Americans' "firsts" such as:
Seaman John Ortega, the first Hispanic American to receive the Medal of Honor in 1864.
Adm. David Farragut, the country's first full admiral in 1866.
Alberto de Ruiz, the first U.S. Naval Academy Hispanic graduate in 1875.
Lt. j.g. Maria Rodriguez Denton, the first Puerto Rican to serve as a U.S. Naval Reserve officer in 1944.
Cmdr. (later Capt.) Marion Frederic Ramirez de Arellano, the first Hispanic to command a submarine in 1944.
Edward Hidalgo, the first Hispanic to serve as Secretary of the Navy in 1979. He set one of his top priorities to recruiting more Hispanic Americans. He served as secretary until January 1981.
Concluding our Hispanic American Sailors' "firsts" series, this week's Tester highlights accomplishments from the 1980s to now.
1981: Midshipman Carmel Gilliland was among the first Hispanic American women to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy. She also held the highest class rank. The other Hispanic American women graduating with Gilliland were: Midshipmen Ina Marie Gomez, Trinora Pinto and Lilia Ramirez.
2002: Capt. Kathlene Contres became the highest ranking woman Hispanic Line Officer on active duty in the Navy. In 2005 she became the first Hispanic woman to lead the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute as the commandant since its establishment in 1971.
2006: MCPON Joe Campa became the first Hispanic Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, the top-ranking enlisted person. Campa served at MCPON until 2008..
2010: Cmdr. Yvette Gonzalez Davids became the first Hispanic American female officer to command a surface combatant as the USS Curts (FFG 38) Commanding Officer.