NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. –
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated across the nation every year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The 2021 HHM observance theme “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope,” focuses on the Spanish name Esperanza, meaning hope or expectation. Throughout this month, we celebrate Hispanic heritage month by reflecting on the past contributions Hispanics have made and will continue to make in the future, recognizing that we are all stronger together.
DLA Distribution is honored to highlight Hispanic Americans who work daily to provide logistics support to America’s warfighters and other federal customers.
My name is
Army Lt. Col. Sonia I. Huertas
Commander, DLA Distribution Red River, Texas
Describe your job in a sentence:
As a commander, I provide leadership, vision and direction in the day-to-day operations and management of over $9.3 billion assets in storage.
How long have you been in the military?
How long have you worked at DLA?
What is your favorite thing about working for DLA?
I get to interact with all sorts of people with different backgrounds. It is such a cool experience to interact with people from all over the United States and from all walks of life and to hear their stories about where they are from and why they decided to work at DLA. Every day is different at DDRT. Finishing a stressful workday gives me a sense of accomplishment. When I make my way out the front doors, I feel like I am completely on top of the world, nobody can get in my way. Completing a day of work, especially a busy and stressful one, makes me feel like I can do anything.
What are your best memories of being in the military?
Taking the DDRT guidon is a memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Additionally, only 1% of the United States population serves in the military. My entire family has answered the call to serve the military. My spouse is retired; my son and daughter are currently serving in the Army as active-duty soldiers. The fondest recollections are of administering the oath of office to my son and daughter and taking the guidon. In our family, service is a way of life.
What is one thing you would like others to know about your heritage?
Many outstanding Hispanics, both men and women, have dedicated their lives to music, the arts, medicine, entertainment and the law. Pablo Picasso, Julio Iglesias and Pablo Casals are among the artists that have contributed to this collection. Our culture is an important component of society, as evidenced by Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, marc Anthony and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Hispanics contribute to every facet of current American life while maintaining their ancestors’ unique customs and traditions. All Americans, regardless of national heritage, celebrate the vibrant Hispanic American spirit that influences our country’s art. Music, food and values. We also value commitment, patriotism and respect for others, qualities that transcend ethnicity, embody the American spirit and are exemplified brilliantly in the Hispanic American community.
Why is it important to you that we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?
As a Hispanic woman and leader, it is critical for me to learn from different cultures and backgrounds in the same way that I want others to learn from our traditions. We are hardworking, passionate, animated and naturally happy. At the dinner table, it appears like we are just shouting and arguing while, in fact, we are chatting and expressing our joy to see each other. We are proud of our native tongue and will never pass up an opportunity to practice it or tell you about our countries of origin.
On top of numerous noteworthy achievements made by Hispanics, I want to emphasize our military service. Since the early, difficult days of the Revolution, Hispanic-Americans served in every theater and took part in some of the most horrific battles, particularly in Korea and Vietnam. Most recently, Hispanic men and women have valiantly served in the theaters of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hispanics have played an important and diverse role in society, government and the military. Hispanics continue to make contributions to our wonderful country. From the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where on July 3, 1863, Corporal Joseph H. DeCastro, an 18-year-old flag-bearer from Company India, 19th Massachusetts Infantry, became the first Hispanic-American to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Since then, over 60 Hispanics have also been awarded the Medal of Honor. Hispanics account for more than 16& of all active-duty military personnel and their valor benefits this great country.