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CNO: Shipmates, CNO Gilday here with MCPON Smith aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg, a storied warship and enduring symbol of the decisive battle that turned the tide of the U.S. Civil War, a battle for the soul of America, a battle that ultimately forged a stronger nation.
And we’re here today to celebrate Black History Month and recognize the many achievements of Sailors, past and present, for their service.
MCPON: We stand on the shoulders of giants, we must never forget their dedication and service.
CNO: Leaders like the “Golden Thirteen” who were the first Black naval officers commissioned in February 1944 and Cook Third Class Dorie Miller who demonstrated relentless courage during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
MCPON: And Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate Carl Brashear, the first Black Navy diver; Jesse L. Brown, the 1st Black American Aviator and 1st Black American killed in the Korean War; and the first Black woman four-star admiral, Michelle Howard.
CNO: During Black History Month, take the time to learn about the many incredible leaders and trailblazers who helped get us to where we are now. Leaders like Adm. Cecil Haney, Vice Adm. Mel Williams, Rear Adm. Annie Andrews, Fleet Master Chief April Beldo, and Command Master Chief Dee Allen, to the four Black women currently serving as commanding officers of U.S. Navy warships, to now 2nd Lt. Sydney Barber, the first Black woman to serve as the Naval Academy’s Brigade Commander.
MCPON: Leadership doesn’t just exist in the history books. I am continually inspired by those who serve today. We must continue to learn from the example of those pioneering leaders as well as our shipmates in the Fleet today.
CNO: And as we do this, we must remember that as we find ourselves in the breach of strategic competition, America needs a flexible, forward deployed, engaged fleet that keeps the seas open and free, generates credible deterrence as sea, and provides quick response options for U.S. leadership. Make no mistake, people are our asymmetric advantage in this competition.
MCPON: Diversity and inclusion are some of the Navy’s greatest strengths. It’s about talent, teamwork and a wider range of perspectives that pushes us forward to go from good to great and to be able to fight and win.
CNO: Our Navy prides itself with developing leaders who, in many cases and despite overwhelming odds, challenges and biases, serve with honor and distinction.
MCPON: Every month, not just February, is an opportunity for us to celebrate and renew our shared commitment to the guarantee of equity for all.
CNO: Thank you for your commitment to our national security. We’re surely proud of all that you do.
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