NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. –
Black History Month is a time set aside to honor African Americans who have made contributions, not only to our military history, but even more importantly, to our American history. Black service members have a rich tradition of honorably answering the call to duty, serving with great valor and distinction in America's armed forces.
This year, DoD is commemorating the 75th Anniversary of World War II by recognizing the contributions and sacrifices made by all Service members, including those who served on the home front. During the anniversary, we pay tribute to those Americans who undauntedly and courageously contributed to the defense of our nation. Often overlooked are the valiant efforts of African Americans.
Over 2.5 million African-American men registered for the draft, and African-American women volunteered in large numbers. While serving in the Army, Army Air Forces, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard, and War Department they served with distinction, made valuable contributions to the war effort, and earned well-deserved praise and commendations for their struggles and sacrifices.
I’m attaching this year’s Black History Month poster—the first in a series of posters commemorating the 75th Anniversary of World War II. The poster is reminiscent of the colors and styles found in the 1940’s "Recruitment and Victory" posters from the World War II era. This year the poster provides homage to the Soldiers from A Company, 452nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery, one of the United States Army’s black-only combat units.
There are many other historical African-American figures in the military, including: Crispus Attucks, the first person killed in the Revolutionary War; 600 African American Soldiers who were instrumental in defeating the British at New Orleans in the War of 1812; The Harlem Hellfighters, an African-American infantry unit in WWI who spent more time in combat than any other American unit; The Tuskeegee Airmen, the 452nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, and African-American nurses in the Women's Army Corps during World War II; two African-American Medal of Honor recipients in Korea and 20 more during the Vietnam War.
The American military has come a long way from the segregated units of World War II and I encourage you all to be proud of and continue to support our commitment to racial equality.
RDML, SC, USN