My Coast Guard
Commentary | Sept. 16, 2021

BZ: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and the tremendous contributions Latinos have made to our country and the Coast Guard, and more

By Nicole Bertrand, MyCG Writer

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and the tremendous contributions Latinos have made to our country and the Coast Guard. From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 annually, the U.S. celebrates the importance of American citizens whose ancestry traces to Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Activities during National Hispanic Heritage Month (NHHM) illuminate these communities' rich and enduring culture in our country. This year’s theme is “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope.” The Coast Guard proudly recognizes and highlights the extraordinary courage and valor that Hispanic and Latino Americans bring to our service and our nation. Hispanic and Latino Americans have served with honor and distinction in the Coast Guard as lighthouse keepers, surfmen, cuttermen, and aviators from our earliest epochs. Among the many that have served with valor are Chief Engineman Justo Gonzalez, who distinguished himself through selfless actions that saved others during a 30-year career in both our precedent agency, the U.S. Lighthouse Service, and the modern Coast Guard. Other Hispanics of note include Gunner's Mate Second Class Joseph Tezanos, who was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal during World War II for distinguished heroism in rescue operations after a devastating explosion in Pearl Harbor. Such heroism and achievements paved the way for others, including Yeoman Grisel Hollis, the first Hispanic American woman advanced to chief petty officer, and Rear Adm. Ronald Rábago, the Coast Guard’s first Hispanic American to be promoted to flag officer, a military term for a service’s highest ranks. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and immigrant to head the Department of Homeland Security. All commands and units are encouraged to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the Coast Guard and to our nation. You can learn more by reading the Celebrating Hispanic Heritage and Hope ALCOAST 332/21.

SOLICITATION: 2021 DHS Secretary’s Awards Ceremony request for nominations. Nominations are being accepted for the 2021 DHS Secretary's Awards Ceremony. The Secretary will hold the 2021 Secretary's Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, in Washington, D.C., to honor individual and collective achievements across DHS that occurred during the period of Sept. 1, 2020 through July 31, 2021. Nominations are being solicited for:

  • Exceptional Service Award (Gold Medal);
  • Secretary's Award for Leadership Excellence (Team and Individual);
  • Secretary's Meritorious Service (Silver Medal);
  • Secretary's Award for Valor;
  • Secretary's Award for Innovation;
  • Secretary's Award for Team Excellence;
  • Secretary's Champion of Equity Award; 
  • Secretary's Award for Volunteer Service.

You are encouraged to recognize military members and civilian employees who are deserving of the highest recognition, having made extraordinary contributions to the Coast Guard and/or DHS as a whole. Nominating commands must be prepared to fund and arrange travel for award recipients selected to attend the DHS Secretary's Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C. All nominations must be received no later than Sept. 22, 2021. For more details, please email Brooke M. Lawson or call (252) 489-9860. You can also read the 2021 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary’s Awards Ceremony Request for Nominations ALCOAST 321/21.

SOLICITATION: Copernicus Award 2022. The Copernicus Award was established to recognize individual contributions to naval warfare in command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I), cyber operations, and information warfare. The Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare in partnership with the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) and the United States Naval Institute (USNI) seek nominations for the award. Nominees must have made a specific, demonstrable contribution to the advancement of C4I, Information Systems, or Cyber Operations. Contributions can be operational or technical in nature. The contribution should involve exceptional initiative, leadership, and insight within the nominee's area of expertise. All U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, and Civil Service personnel are eligible for nomination. Up to 30 awardees will  be selected. Each nominating command is limited to two nominees. Nominations must be submitted no later than Nov. 1, 2021. For more information contact Capt. John DeBok at (202) 475-3553 or read the Solicitation for Copernicus Award 2022 ALCOAST 322/21.

SOLICITATION: Morale, Well-Being, and Recreation (MWR) Awards and Scholarships. The International Military Community Executives Association (IMCEA) will again be presenting MWR awards and scholarships in 2021. IMCEA awards offer commands a unique opportunity to recognize exceptional members of the command performing MWR duties through the awards program of this international organization. Nominees for MWR awards may perform MWR duties as a collateral assignment and may be appropriated or non-appropriated funded individuals. This year's award submissions are required electronically. A copy of the nomination form may be obtained at the IMCEA web site here. Submit electronic nominations no later than Sept. 20, 2021. Should you have any questions about these awards, please call Michael Criswell, MWR specialist, at 757-842-4926. You can learn more by reading the Morale, Well-Being, and Recreation (MWR) Awards and Scholarships ALCGPSC 089/21.