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FLASH FROM THE CHIEF: National African American/Black History Month
FLASH FROM THE CHIEF: National African American/Black History Month
Flash from the Commander NAVSUP and Chief of Supply Corps
8 FEB 2019

National African American/Black History Month

This February we celebrate the achievements of African Americans and pay tribute to the generations who overcame adversity to realize their full rights and liberties as American citizens. Our annual commemoration, which began in 1926, serves as a time to reflect on the role African Americans played in shaping the history, culture and identity of the United States and the U.S. Navy.

This year's theme, "Black Migrations," emphasizes the movement of African Americans to new destinations and social realities in the United States. This demographic shift remade our Nation in ways still enduring today - culturally, politically, and socially. African Americans have a long and enduring heritage of Naval service marked by distinguished performance ashore and afloat during periods of peace and conflict. 

The Navy advanced racial integration during World War II, training a generation of African American officers and enlisted personnel to serve and lead. One such pioneer was Vice Adm. Samuel Lee Gravely Jr., who overcame prejudice and discriminatory policies and excelled in a period of great change. During his Navy career (1942-1980), he became the first African American to command a U.S. Navy warship (USS Theodore E. Chandler (DD-717)), be promoted to flag rank, and command a U.S. Fleet (Commander, 3rd Fleet). 

Another inspiring Sailor is Petty Officer Doris "Dorie" Miller, the first African American to receive the Navy Cross. Serving as a mess attendant on the battleship USS West Virginia (BB 48) during the Pearl Harbor attack, Dec. 7, 1941, he bravely rescued shipmates, then subsequently manned a .50 caliber anti-aircraft gun, firing at attacking planes until he ran out of ammunition.

Over 103,000 African Americans are serving in the Navy today across the active duty, Reserve and civilian components. Our people and our culture of inclusion remain a priority and we continue to celebrate the diversity that makes our Navy and Nation great.


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