Showing posts with label African Americans in the military. Show all posts
Showing posts with label African Americans in the military. Show all posts

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Nevada Army and Air Guard gets 1st African American leader

A 32-year Nevada Air Guardsman has been appointed to lead the Nevada Army and Air Guard, becoming the first African American to hold the position in the state’s 154-year history.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports Gov. Steve Sisolak appointed Brig. Gen. Ondra Berry as the state’s highest-ranking military officer on Saturday at the Nevada Air National Guard Base in Reno.

The 60-year-old Berry is a longtime Reno police officer and, most recently, a senior vice president in MGM Resorts International human resources.

Berry, who grew up in Sparks, said he wants to strengthen connections between service members, schools, civilians, nonprofits and local businesses.

Berry replaces Brig. Gen. William Burks who served under three governors.

Friday, August 23, 2019

99-year-old Tuskegee Airman awarded five overdue WWII medals

99-year-old Thomas Franklin Vaughns served in the Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1946 as a mechanic for the Tuskegee Airman and was also later drafted into the Korean War.On August 21, 2019 Vaughns received five long overdue military medals.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

West Point graduates 34 African-American women, the most ever from one class

Thirty-four black women are expected to graduate from West Point next week.

That will be the largest class of African-American women to graduate together in the military academy's lengthy history, West Point spokesman Frank Demaro said.

"Last year's graduating class had 27," said Demaro. "And the expectation is next year's class will be even larger than this year's."

West Point's graduating class is seeing diversity in other minority groups. "Also, this year's class will have the highest number of female Hispanic graduates along with graduating our 5,000th female cadet since the first class of women to graduate in 1980," said Demaro.

Cadet Tiffany Welch-Baker, spoke to the website "Because Of Them We Can," about her feelings about being a part of this historic graduating class.

"My hope when young black girls see these photos is that they understand that regardless of what life presents you, you have the ability and fortitude to be a force to be reckoned with."

West Point created its office of diversity in 2014 to try to attract, retain and promote a "more diverse workforce" according to its website.

About 10% of undergraduate students are black and women make up about 20% of cadets, according to the school's statistics.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Thomas Ellis, a Tuskegee Airman, is dead at 97

Former Sgt. Maj. Thomas Ellis, one of six surviving Tuskegee Airmen in San Antonio, died Jan. 2 of a stroke in a local hospital. He was 97.

A draftee, he served as a top administrator with the first all-black Army Air Forces unit and was proud of the unit’s record — 15,533 sorties, 112 aerial kills, three Presidential Unit Citations and 96 Distinguished Flying Crosses.

Known as approachable and easygoing, even with strangers, Ellis also chafed at the racism African Americans endured from white officers during the war and knew the importance of proving that the 332nd Fighter Group was up to the job.

“He was very opinionated, very outspoken,” said Rick Sinkfield, national spokesman for Tuskegee Airmen Inc., which has 1,400 members across the country, around 20 of them pilots from the legendary unit. "He realized he was in the segregated military at the time and so he was very aware all eyes were on those guys to do well.

Ellis will be buried with full military honors at 9 a.m. Friday in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

Ellis entered the Army as two-thirds of all Americans did, as a draftee. His daughter, Janice Stallings, said he entered the service in 1942 and was transferred to the Army Air Forces.

Ordered to Tuskegee Army Airfield, Ellis was the only enlisted member in the newly activated in the 301st Fighter Squadron, rising to staff sergeant and becoming an integral member of the 332nd Fighter Group, serving under then-Col. Benjamin O. Davis, who eventually became an Air Force general.

They deployed to Italy, where Ellis earned seven battle stars and left the Army as a sergeant major.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Black WWII veteran receives 6 long-overdue medals

A World War II veteran who is the last-known living Buffalo-area resident to have served in a segregated unit has received six long-overdue medals.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and Rep. Brian Higgins, a Buffalo Democrat, presented George Watts with the medals during a ceremony Wednesday at a city fire station.

Watts was a sergeant assigned to an all-black Army engineer unit that served in the Philippines campaign. He was honorably discharged in 1946. Two years later President Harry Truman integrated the U.S. military.

Among the belated decorations Watts received was the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory medal.

Schumer and Higgins say racism likely kept Watts and many other black soldiers from receiving the military honors they earned with their service during the war.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

You know the Tuskegee Airmen but do you know these other black military heroes?

If you are like me you have a great respect for the Tuskegee Airmen. You can make the argument that without them there is no Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, they broke down barriers and showed the true strength and courage of black men. They valiantly fought for a country that they knew would treat them as second class citizens once the war was over, but they did it knowing what it would mean for the Black Community. Their military record and the commendations speak to the heroes that they were. But they are not the only black military heroes we should know of.

There were others such as The Harlem Hellfighters, The Montford Point Marines, Benjamin O. Davis, and The Golden 13. Learn a little more about them through test and video and get links to books about them below.

The Harlem Hellfighters

The Harlem Hellfighters were an African-American infantry unit in WWI who spent more time in combat than any other American unit. Despite their courage, sacrifice and dedication to their country, they returned home to face racism and segregation from their fellow countrymen.

Read more on the Harlem Hellfighters:

The Montford Point Marines

With the beginning of World War II African Americans would get their chance to be in “the toughest outfit going,” the previously all-white Marine Corps. The first recruits reported to Montford Point, a small section of land on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina on August 26, 1942. By October only 600 recruits had begun training although the call was for 1,000 for combat in the 51st and 52nd Composite Defense Battalions.

The men of the 51st soon distinguished themselves as the finest artillery gunners in the Marine Corps, breaking almost every accuracy record in training. Unfortunately, discrimination towards African American fighting abilities still existed and when shipped to the Pacific, the 51st and 52nd were posted to outlying islands away from the primary action. The only Montford Marines to see action, and record casualties, were the Ammunition and Depot Companies in Saipan, Guam, and Peleliu. Private Kenneth Tibbs was the first black Marine to lose his life on June 15, 1944.

Read more about the Montford Point Marines here:

Benjamin O. Davis

Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr. was an American United States Air Force general and commander of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen. He was the first African-American general officer in the United States Air Force.

Read more about Benjamin Davis here:

The Golden 13

In January 1944 sixteen black enlisted men gathered at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois to begin a cram course that would turn them into the U.S. Navy's first African-American officers on active duty. The men believed they could set back the course of racial justice if they failed and banded together so all would succeed. Despite the demanding pace, all sixteen passed the course. Twelve were commissioned as ensigns and a thirteenth was made a warrant officer. Years later these pioneers came to be known as the Golden Thirteen, but at the outset they were treated more as pariahs than pioneers. Often denied the privileges and respect routinely accorded white naval officers, they were given menial assignments unworthy of their abilities and training. Yet despite this discrimination, these inspirational young men broke new ground and opened the door for generations to come.

Read more about The Golden 13:

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Michelle Howard gets 4th star, becomes first female admiral in the US Navy

[SOURCE] At a ceremony, held at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, Michelle Howard became the first woman to make four-star admiral. On Tuesday afternoon, she will assume duties as the vice chief of naval operations making her the Navy's number two officer.

Watch the promotion ceremony below: