News: Third Army, Gamecocks coach observe National Hispanic Heritage Month
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Tony Spain
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. – University of South Carolina Gamecocks new men’s head basketball coach Frank Martin was the special guest and speaker as Third Army/ARCENT observed Hispanic Heritage Month at Patton Hall, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. Wednesday.
Martin, son of Cuban immigrants and the first Hispanic NCAA division I college basketball coach, spoke of his Hispanic heritage and thanked Third Army for their military service and sacrifices and promised that the young men he coaches will always understand the importance of the freedom the military protects.
“The guys that played for us at Kansas State understood it and the guys that will play for us at the University of South Carolina will understand it -- that is how lucky they are they get to play and I get to coach because of the efforts of you,” said Martin. “The effort that you folks make of your time and your commitment to this country that allows us to live free and allows me to coach basketball; I just want to say thank you for what you do that allows me to do what I do.”
Col. Joseph R. Feliciano, chief of protection division, Third Army/ARCENT, was honored to have Martin present to help observe Hispanic heritage and recognize the contributions more than 50 million Hispanic-Americans make to our country every day as civilians and in the military. Hispanics have always had a rich history of serving their country as well.
“The contributions by Hispanics to military service are one of dedication and pride. More than 40 Hispanics have received the Medal of Honor dating all the way back to the Civil War,” said Feliciano.
The first Hispanic Medal of Honor recipient was Corporal Joseph H. De Castro of the Union Army for his actions at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, during the Civil War and the most recent recipient is Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry for his actions in Afghanistan.
The observance closed with Brig. Gen. Charles L. Taylor, Chief of Staff, Third Army/ARCENT, presenting Martin with the Third Army coin of excellence on behalf of Lt. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commanding general, Third Army/ARCENT; a reception with traditional Hispanic cuisine and a meet and greet/autograph session with Martin.