‘In Times of War’: JBPHH celebrates Black History

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Lareava Meschino, JBPHH operations officer, speaks during the 2018 Black History Month Observance at the Hickam Memorial Theater, Feb. 22.

Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman

15th Wing Public Affairs

As February draws to a close, members from around Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) come together to celebrate Black History Month and recognize the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen who came before them.

“Events like Black History Month observance, require all of us to reflect on how we represent a diverse slice of American life, and how we are able to focus that to become the world’s finest fighting force,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Jeff Bernard, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam commander. “The special skill sets we bring to the fight is a result of our individual backgrounds and up-bringing. It is the merger of those differences into a singular unit that makes us a better and more lethal fighting force.”

Commemorating the end of First World War in 1918, this year’s Black History Month theme is, “African Americans in Times of War.”

The 2018 National African American History Month proclamation, signed by President Donald J. Trump, states this year’s National African American History Month is to honor the significant contributions African Americans have made to the U.S.

“This is a time for us not only to look upon the past, but to also look towards the future,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Lareava Meschino, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam operations officer.

Throughout U.S. history, African Americans have had a major impact throughout the military.

In 1917, the 369th Infantry, also known as the “Harlem Hellfighters,” was an all-black regiment that was among the first regiments to arrive in France and it became one of the most highly decorated.

Doris Miller enlisted in the Navy in 1939 as a mess attendant stationed aboard the USS West Virginia. During the attack on Pearl Harbor, he carried injured Sailors to safety and manned machine gun until he ran out of ammo.

In June 1967, Air Force Maj. Robert Henry Lawrence Jr. became the first African American astronaut.

“We look at the past and applaud those who came before doing great things, but it’s easy to look back and see who’s on the right side of history,” Meschino said. “While it’s important to remember the determination and sacrifices of all our ancestors, we are here to honor those who came before us and also to celebrate what’s to come.”

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Category: News