​30-DAY MESSAGE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY

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SUBJ/30-DAY MESSAGE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY//

RMKS/1.  Shipmates, nothing in my career could bring me more pride than to be 
back with you as part of Our Navy-Marine Corps Team.  In my first month as 
Your Secretary, its been my honor to exchange elbow greetings with many of 
you.  Ive met with Marines in the field and Sailors at sea.  Ive seen the 
urgency of dedicated service each of you bring to your mission and the 
strength you bring to Our Team.  I am inspired by the work you do every day 
to keep our country safe.  And I am, most especially, proud of each one of 
you as you exhibit Service Above Self!  As you stand watch around the world, 
I know your thoughts turn to events at home.  From the ongoing COVID-19 
pandemic to the continuing struggle for racial equality, our Nation is 
confronting many complex challenges.  Our naval force is unfortunately not 
immune from these challenges, and we should not turn away from the hard 
questions.  During my recent visit to Naval Air Station Oceana, Our Shipmate 
Aviation Machinists Mate Airman Josiah Crosby asked me about racial 
disparities in the force.  I applauded his courage and initiative in bringing 
up this important topic to address something that has plagued our nation 
since its birth.  Thank you, Josiah!  We need to talk about equality and 
justice if we are going to create the One Team approach we strive to attain.  
And we must act on those hard conversations, throughout the ranks and across 
the force, right up to the desk of the Secretary of the Navy.
All of us serve in the wake of courageous African American Sailors and 
Marines like Master Chief Petty Officer Carl M. Brashear, the Montfort Point 
Marines, and Vice Admiral Samuel Gravely, Jr.  They inspire us in our service 
and our determination to expand opportunity and equality throughout our force 
as they remind us that their actions in serving others was based on the right 
"ism" - Patriotism!   We must also however, bear the legacy of those who 
stood in their way.   Segregation and injustice didnt happen by accident.  It 
was a reflection of society.  Thankfully, African American Sailors like John 
Lawson, Medal of Honor recipient, proudly served in the Navy during the Civil 
and Spanish American Wars.  Many of his African American Shipmates made the 
ultimate sacrifice during these same wars.  Sadly even in the aftermath of 
such courageous action, it took conscious decisions, many from the very 
office I now hold, to deny them that same opportunity in the Navy and Marine 
Corps during World Wars I and II.  It also took conscious decisions and 
behaviors at every level to begin to change that culture of oppression, 
harassment and inequality.  I am reminded of the first African-American Naval 
Aviator, Ensign Jesse L. Brown, who was shot down in Korea and the actions of 
his Caucasian squadron mate, Lieutenant Junior Grade Thomas J. Hudner, who 
purposely crashed his plane next to Ensign Brown in an attempt to save his 
life.  So it takes conscious decisions like Lieutenant Junior Grade Hudners 
to make it right.  We must never forget that equal treatment, equal justice, 
and equal opportunity require continuous, determined effort.  Alongside 
Admiral Michael M. Gilday and General David H. Berger, I am committed to 
confronting inequities in our command environment and military justice 
system.  I am determined to ensure a command environment that encourages the 
hard questions, and stands ready to work alongside you to find the right 
answers.  "United" is, and always will be, the most important word in "United 
States Navy and Marine Corps."  So talk to your Shipmates.  Speak up to your 
leadership.  Listen to your subordinates and get this issue out in the light. 
Work together to identify root causes and build lasting solutions.  Learn 
from one another and help us all unite and move forward as One Navy-Marine 
Corps Team.  Full Speed Ahead!

2.  Released by the Honorable Kenneth J. Braithwaite, Secretary of the 
Navy.//

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