PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- More than 50 service members and civilians from the U.S. Navy's premier training facility for operational medicine and aviation survival training celebrated Black History Month with a command-wide observance Feb. 14 Naval Air Station Pensacola.
The celebration, sponsored by the Navy Medicine Operational Training Center Diversity Committee, featured selected readings from African-American Heritage Society (AAHS) of Pensacola members, something NMOTC Diversity Officer Lt. j.g. Matthew Christensen, MSC, said can provide an insight into a culture rich in tradition and heritage.
"NMOTC is a diverse command with various nationalities and ethnicities," he said. "The staff is very open to cultural awareness, which is why these types of command functions are so successful. This event - like all multi-cultural events - is designed to promote awareness, and the AAHS of Pensacola provided a thought-provoking and educational presentation."
Black History Month is celebrated annually in the United States, and was initially a recognition started in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson as a method of educating Americans about the cultural significance and achievements of African-Americans. The 2014 Black History Month theme, "Civil Rights in America," was selected to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a landmark piece of civil rights legislation which outlawed major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities as well as women.
During the two-hour presentation, NMOTC personnel heard readings from AAHS of Pensacola Program Coordinator Ora Wills from the book "When Black Folks Was Colored." Wills also presented a brief history of African-American history in Pensacola.
Christensen added that the value of cultural diversity throughout the ranks of the United States Armed Forces cannot be understated, saying that observances such as this serve to celebrate service members' differences while highlighting the commonalities between all Sailors.
"Events such as this serve to further not only the education of the Sailors and civilians working here, but the countless other individuals with whom they have contact," he said. "We might all come from different backgrounds, different areas of the world, but we all have chosen in one way or another to serve the United States Navy. And that is directly reflective of the cross section of America the Navy is."
NMOTC, the recognized global leader in operational medical and aviation survival training, reports to Navy Medicine Education and Training Command (NMETC). NMETC manages Navy Medicine's formal enlisted and officer education and training programs, medical operational training for medical and medical support personnel deploying worldwide, and training that prepares aviators and flight crews to survive in land and water mishaps.
NMOTC and NMETC are part of the Navy Medicine team, a global health care network of Navy medical professionals around the world who provide high-quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ships, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.
For more news from Navy Medicine Education and Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/nmsc/.