552nd ACW celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

  • Published
  • By Kimberly Woodruff 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

To honor Hispanic Heritage Month, an aircrew with the 552nd Air Control Wing flew a heritage mission and training sortie Sept. 15.

The crew provided air control for F-15Cs from New Orleans for a defensive counterair mission.

The sortie had 21 members from four squadrons providing them with multiple training events for the duration of the flight.

“The United States owes much of its success to the innovation and immigration of so many cultures,” said Col. Keven Coyle, 552nd ACW commander. “This heritage flight, like all others in the 552nd ACW, represent our commitment to recognizing and valuing the contributions of Airmen from every background, heritage, and culture. We are stronger because of the bonds of unity we share in defense of this great Nation.”

According to U.S. Army website on the history of Hispanics serving in the military, “Hispanics have a proud and indeed enviable record of military service, dating all the way back to the Civil War. Whether their heritage can be traced to Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, or one of dozens of other Spanish-speaking countries or cultures, they’ve answered the “call of duty,” defending America with unwavering valor and honor.”

Senior Airman Luis Lopez, a mission systems operator with the 965th Airborne Air Control Squadron said this heritage flight is important.

“Growing up as a kid in south Texas, people assumed I was from Mexico, but my family is actually from Spain and so it is good to show that the Hispanic culture is not only from Mexico,” said Lopez.

National Hispanic Heritage Month was first proclaimed by President George H.W. Bush in 1989.

The anniversary of independence for the Latin American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua falls on Sept. 15, making the date significant for starting the heritage month which runs through Oct. 15. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.

According to a July 2021 Defense Manpower Data Center study, nearly 18% of active duty military are Latino or of Hispanic origin.