As we near the end of Hispanic Heritage Month, we look toward Veterans Day, just over the horizon and remember the significant accomplishments of our Hispanic-American Veterans. It takes a richly woven heritage of cultures and nationalities to keep this country and our armed forces strong.

This year’s Hispanic Heritage Month proclamation states: “Hispanic Americans have had a lasting impact on our history and have helped drive hard-won progress for all our people. They are the writers, singers, and musicians that enrich our arts and humanities; the innovative entrepreneurs steering our economy. They are the scientists and engineers revolutionizing our ways of life and making sweeping new discoveries; the advocates leading the way for social and political change. They are the brave men and women in uniform who commit themselves to defending our most cherished ideals at home and abroad. And their lasting achievements and devotion to our Nation exemplify the tenacity and perseverance embedded in our national character.”

PVT Joe P Martinez

Medal of Honor recipient Pvt. Joe P. Martinez

This same brand of “tenacity and perseverance” can be seen in the service and sacrifice of Hispanic-Americans such as Pvt. Joe P. Martinez. Of the 60 Hispanic-Americans who have earned the Medal of Honor, Martinez was the first recipient — for his actions on the Aleutian Islands during World War II. His posthumous award was the first act for combat heroism on American soil, not including Pearl Harbor, since the Indian Wars.

While his unit, the 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, was pinned down by enemy fire, encountering steep, snow-covered terrain, Martinez on his own account led two assaults. He was wounded after the second assault and died the following day, but his actions were an important preliminary to the end of the war’s organized hostile resistance.

At VA, we honor the heritage of Hispanic Americans like Martinez, and celebrate their unique contributions to society.

At VA facilities across the country, our employees — doctors, nurses, claims adjudicators, medical center and regional office directors, and top program executives — serve more than 792,000 Hispanic Veterans.

Together we are building a future based on appreciating and understanding the things that set us apart. We are working hard to recruit, develop and retain skilled men and women of all backgrounds and cultures dedicated to our special mission. A major part of that preparation is building a workforce that reflects the diversity of our nation and its Veterans.

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Published on Oct. 12, 2016

Estimated reading time is 2 min.

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  1. Yelena Levitsky Kurochkina October 14, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    What happened to other Veterans of United States Of America? Why there is the Hispanic-American Veterans, HOWEVER
    Would you tell me, please? – I am White Caucasian that’s why I am bringing that question above or from the grounds.

    • paul coupal October 18, 2016 at 6:20 am

      Yes I am a white Caucasian male veteran. I assume it’s bad to call yourself a white male in this country these days. Hispanic month you have Asian month you have Native American month you have African-American month. But don’t you dare call it European white male month that is not right. And that might be racist. If you look at the grave sites around the world on American veterans who died most are white Caucasian males with Christian crosses above them. Shame on the VA writing a crappy article like this. Your article is basically racist and divisive to this country. Not surprised with the Veterans Administration the VA. You’re right on Yelena!! Shame on you VA…

  2. paul October 14, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Why celebrate hispanic vets!!!We are American Vets!!!Having to deal with this slimy VA system!!!Shame on you Va on this and dividing are vets in cattle categories!I am an American combat vet,and proud of my service.Not white black or hispanic asian etc..Shame on you civilians!!!at the VA>>>

  3. Teresa de Lourdes Perez October 14, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Thank you again for this article. God bless Joe, and God Bless America.

  4. Teresa de Lourdes Perez October 14, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Being a female Hispanic veteran I was very glad to read this article. I am very proud of being Hispanic and more so of being a veteran. Thank you for this article. And God bless Joe. And mostly God Bless America.

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