CNO: Shipmates, CNO Gilday here with my wife Linda. During Native American Heritage Month, we honor the service of Native Americans and pay homage to the important contributions they’ve made to our United States Navy.
Linda: This month we recognize their rich and diverse histories as well as celebrate their cultures and traditions.
CNO: For 245 years, Native Americans have fought under the cloth of this nation and have the highest per-capita rate of any population serving in our military today. Approximately 15,000 active duty, reserve, and civilian Sailors serve as part of our Navy, and more than 160,000 American Indians call themselves veterans.
Linda: Native Americans have a proud tradition of service and have left an enduring mark on the Navy. Their stories exemplify our core values of honor, courage, and commitment.
CNO: There’s Sailors like Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class James E. Williams, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during a three-hour battle against the Viet Cong guerrillas in 1966 where he disrupted their logistics operation and destroyed 65 enemy vessels. And Sailors like Vice Adm. Jeff Trussler, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation, and assumed duties as deputy chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare in June of 2020, and he is the 68th director of Naval Intelligence.
Linda: I would also like to mention Retired Chief Petty Officer Linda Old Horn-Purdy, from the Crow tribe. She was one of the first to serve on a U.S. Navy combatant ship in 1985. She said that Native Americans have defended America since its inception, which we know, and they have to protect America, no matter what. It’s in our blood she said. Amazing!
CNO: To all of our Native American Sailors – past, present and future, thank you, and we’ll see you in the Fleet, Shipmates!
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