SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) celebrated one of the founding fathers of the American Civil Rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the beginning of Black History Month with a five-kilometer run.
Sailors gathered before sunrise to listen to a presentation by Frank Cable's diversity committee on the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on American society and the American military.
"Dr. King and the civil rights movement gave America the realization that we are created equal and that no matter what race or creed, we are entitled to the same privileges as any other individual," said Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Roberto Hernandez, a diversity committee member who participated in the ceremony. "Those privileges included the right to serve our nation without discrimination or bias within the ranks."
King is well known for his "I Have A Dream" speech and his use of civil disobedience and marches to battle injustice during the civil rights movement of the 1960's.
"Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement in general had an impact on the military," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Rolando Mercado. "For instance, allowing females to be aboard submarines and different genders or races are free to apply for work or programs in the military."
The U.S. military was officially desegregated in January 1948 by President Harry Truman, though some forms of discrimination still remained. For many service members, the inclusion of all races, religions, genders and nationalities is essential to success.
"In my opinion, diversity is important to the Navy because it allows us to come together and learn different ideas, traditions, and skills set that are necessary for us to move forward with our career and our lives," said Mercado.
Though King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, his impact on society is still felt.
"Diversity is important because this country was built on the backs of multiple cultures," said Hernandez. "It provides us with a sense of equality and shows us that the Navy is strong when we are together. This is why we are the most powerful Navy in the world."
Black history month was founded to recognize the contributions of black Americans to our country and to foster a better understanding of the black American experience. The second week of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.
Frank Cable, forward deployed to the island of Guam, conducts maintenance and support of submarines and surface vessels deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility and is currently on a scheduled underway period.
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