The Association of Naval Services Officers.
Dedicated to Expanding Hispanic Presence in Leadership of Sea Services.
By Retired Rear Admiral Will Rodriguez, United States Navy
Early in 1980, the United States Navy became concerned about the lack of Hispanic representation within their senior officer corps as well as the lack of Hispanic applicants for officer programs.
Troubled by this situation, then Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Edward Hidalgo, established the Association of Naval Services Officers, Incorporated (ANSO) composed of Hispanic officers that could reach out to attract qualified Hispanics to apply to the sea services’ officer programs. Over the past 37 years, ANSO has grown to include not only Hispanic officers, but also Hispanic enlisted members of all three sea services – the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard – as well as the Merchant Marines. ANSO has become the premier Hispanic affinity group for the Sea Services.
It is estimated that approximately 25 years from now, 30 percent of the U.S. population will be of Hispanic descent. In order to reflect the face of our nation, ANSO continues to support the sea services, with the mission of growing the number of Hispanics in the sea services, especially in the senior officer and enlisted ranks. Further, ANSO has grown to 15 chapters throughout the country, with the main purpose of supporting its members and this growth.
Working towards realizing Secretary Hidalgo’s vision, ANSO provides mentoring and career development opportunities to foster professional growth—and engage with the next generation of sea service leaders. We have directly assisted Hispanic service members in being selected for a number of commissioning programs, promotions and other opportunities for professional growth within their respective career paths. Above all else, our dedication to our Hispanic shipmates is founded on the belief that we will help them become the best-qualified candidates as they climb their respective career ladders of success.
ANSO is expanding its career management mission to include transition services. We have directly supported a number of our Hispanic members in their decision to remain in their respective services. We have also helped those who separate or retire to find outside employment. Moreover, once our members leave the sea service, they are still able to receive numerous veteran benefits through active participation in mentorship events and networking opportunities offered by ANSO, as well as share advice and experience with members currently serving.
In addition to supporting the Hispanic men and women of the sea services, ANSO members volunteer in support of their local communities to grow the Hispanic youth of today to be tomorrow’s leaders. It is our responsibility to connect with the Hispanic youth of this country, to prepare them to become tomorrow’s leaders and present to them the positive role models of our sea services. We have been directly responsible in supporting the sea services’ recruiting efforts, including awarding a number of Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Immediate Scholarship Reservations.
ANSO credits its success not only to its members, but to its organization’s annual program. Our program consists of a number of one to two-day working-level symposiums collocated with one of the local chapters. The symposiums are designed to provide members with career management support and one-on-one mentoring sessions with senior officers and senior enlisted members. If you attended one of our past symposiums, I am sure you will agree with me that they are well worth attending. We continue to focus on our shipmates, as well as our successes as sea service Hispanics. With the change in demographics in this country, it is important—now more than ever—that our organizations continue to focus on building and supporting Hispanic leaders in all walks of life.
If you are a Sailor, a Marine or a Coast Guardsman, I encourage you to join ANSO. Between community service and volunteer opportunities, as well as career development support there is something for everyone, and surely something you can share with our members as well. More information is available at www.ansomil.org.
Finally, many of you have heard Mr. Robert Bard share his pride with his ANSO affiliation. ANSO has created a special bond with LATINA Style, and our collaborative missions are making significant progress in our respective Hispanic communities.
To my shipmates, thank you all for what you do on a daily basis to make this world a better place to live, and thank you all for your continuing service!
¡Adelante con ANSO! We are the premier Hispanic organization of the sea services – “Building Today’s Hispanics to be Tomorrow’s Sea Service Leaders!”
Want to comment or have any questions on this article? Email us at [email protected]