Honoring The Generations Of Latino Veterans Who Served This Country…And Recognizing The Growing Numbers Who Serve Today

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As the nation honors its veterans, government officials point to the growing numbers of Latinos in the military, while Hispanic scholars and historians remind us of the generations of Hispanics who have proudly served our country.
Latinos make up about 6 percent of U.S. military veterans, according to a September 2014 report by the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics. Although this number may seem low, it is rapidly changing.
The population of Hispanic veterans is expected to double in the next ten years, according to Barbara Ward, Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Minority Veterans. The increase can be seen over time; while Hispanics were 2.6 percent of World War II veterans, they make up 12.2 percent of veterans in the post-9/11 period.
“That means we have to do a better job in our positive outreach to Hispanic veterans wherever they are,” said Ward. “We do this through our Hispanic Liaison, and we have 300 minority veterans program coordinators that are based in regional offices,” she said.
Ward said her agency works with civic groups including the American G.I. Forum and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), to spread the word about programs and services available to Latino veterans.
By certain measures, Hispanic veterans are doing better than their non-veteran counterparts. Veterans Affairs statistics show that Hispanic veterans have a lower unemployment rate, lower uninsured rate, and a lower poverty rate than Hispanic non-veterans. The median personal income for Hispanic veterans is more than twice that of Hispanic non-veterans.
However, Hispanics remain under-represented in the military at the officer level. Latinos are about 15 percent of the population, but only five percent of the officers’ corps in the armed forces. A 2011 Department of Defense report, “Diversity Leadership for the 21st Century Military,” found that “top military leaders are representative neither of the population they serve nor of the forces they lead.”
To read the full story:  http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/numbers-grow-recognizing-generations-latino-vets-n245261
 

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