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NEWS | Feb. 16, 2021

CNR Message on Black History Month

By Vice Adm. John B. Mustin, Chief of Navy Reserve

VIDEO | 03:56 | CNR Message on Black History Month 2021
We celebrate diversity throughout our military every day, but we also set aside time throughout the year to spotlight individual men and women who have fought adversity, and who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their service to our great nation.

Black History Month in February is one of those times. Initiated in the United States in 1926 as a week to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass, the celebration now extends through the full month of February. This important recognition has expanded to many nations around the world.
This year’s theme is “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity.” 
In our Navy, we have numerous examples of interest, given this particular topic.

Last year the Navy announced the next aircraft carrier would be named after Doris Miller. It’s the first time in history a carrier will be named after an African American — a true hero and leader who defended his shipmates and his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. His heroism saved many lives.
Ensign Jesse Brown, Master Chief Carl Brashear, Sgt. Rodney M. Davis, Pfc. Oscar Austin. These are but a few Sailors and Marines who rose above the challenges facing them and dedicated their lives to their service, and all who now have ships that bear their names.
It would be impossible to honor every accomplishment or even every individual that qualifies for recognition during Black History Month, and yet we must remain mindful of those who endured hardship, and in doing so, contributed to our rich history and heritage.

I urge each one of you to prioritize your time to read their stories. Research more trailblazers who paved the way to a better Navy: the “Golden Thirteen,” Marine Pvt. Howard Perry, Fleet Master Chief April Beldo, Vice Adm. Samuel Gravely Jr., and a former boss of mine and a superior mentor and leader, Adm. Michelle Howard.
Read their stories. By understanding and honoring the past, we can secure a brighter future for every one of us.
Thanks for what you do every day, and I hope you can learn from the examples set by African American leaders during Black History Month.

Vice Adm. Mustin sends.