DoD celebrates National African American History Month

Department of Defense

The Department of Defense (DoD) joins the nation in celebration of National African American History Month, Feb. 1-28. Together we recognize the service and sacrifices of African Americans and celebrate their contributions to the defense of our nation, supporting the DoD mission both in uniform and through civilian service.

Throughout our country’s history, African Americans have made invaluable contributions to the armed forces and the security of the United States. Even in the face of prejudice and oppression, these patriotic Americans showed great resolve and continued to serve our country, support national defense, and champion equal treatment of all Americans. African Americans valiantly served on the front lines alongside their American brethren long before the issuance of Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948, which called for “equality of treatment and opportunity for all those who serve in our country’s defense” and led to full integration of the services.

African Americans have fought in every major military conflict, demonstrating great courage and resiliency under the most challenging of circumstances. It is a lesser known fact that during the American Civil War almost 200,000 African Americans served in the Armed Forces — approximately 179,000 in the Army and 19,000 in the Navy.

From the early days of the American Revolution to the trenches of World War I and II; from the jungles of Vietnam to the deserts and mountains of Iraq and Afghanistan, and presentday missions around the world, African Americans have honorably served to defend this great nation. The department salutes the service and sacrifice of these courageous Americans — from the Buffalo Soldiers, Harlem Hellfighters, Tuskegee Airmen, and Montford Point Marines, to the Golden Thirteen and beyond. The contributions of AfricanAmericans are deeply embedded in the history of the United States and continue to be reflected in the core of our nation’s identity.

DoD is committed to recognizing and honoring African Americans for their noble service to our nation and advancement of the principles of equality and diversity throughout the United States. As we commemorate National African American History Month, DoD personnel are encouraged to celebrate the achievements and pay tribute to the sacrifices of African American members of the total force, past and present.

The 2018 Black History Month poster shows a collage of African American service members in wartime from each of the armed services beginning from the Civil War period and ending in the contemporary era.

DoD illustration

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Category: News