USS Theodore Roosevelt Commemorates Black History Month

USS Theodore Roosevelt’s (CVN 71) Diversity Committee held a ceremony honoring African-American/Black History Month in the ship’s foc’sle, Feb. 20.

Every year in February, the Navy celebrates the contributions and accomplishments of African-Americans throughout history.

“The recognition of black history month is an annual celebration recognizing the accomplishments and achievements of African-Americans and is well documented,” said guest speaker Capt. Richard Jones, the Director of Shore/Ground Safety Programs at Naval Safety Center.

During the ceremony, members of TR’s Diversity Committee gave speeches highlighting significant contributions and firsts for African-American Sailors. Speakers talked about Fleet Master Chief April Beldo, the first African-American command master chief to serve on a nuclear aircraft carrier and the first female and African-American selected as the force master chief of Naval Education Training Command. They also talked about Chief Yeoman Loretta Walsh, the first female African-American chief petty officer, and Master Chief Carl Brashear, the first African-American to hold the title of master diver.

“African Americans have served the United States honorably through every major armed conflict since and including the Revolutionary War,” said Capt. Daniel C. Grieco, Theodore Roosevelt’s commanding officer.

African-Americans have fought long and hard to have equal opportunities to serve their country and to achieve recognition for their service to the United States. Jones believes ceremonies recognizing them are important to the Navy’s mission.

“It’s my belief that recognizing and appreciating the many cultural elements associated with our organization, or the ship, goes a long way to support the mission,” said Jones. “Commanding such a diverse force, we need to understand and recognize all the dynamics of the people. All this machinery is great but it’s the people who make the machinery work.”

As Theodore Roosevelt stays busy preparing for future deployments, the ship and its crew still take time to honor diversity and the rich history that African-Americans have added to America and the U.S. Navy.

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jenna Kaliszewski, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs

** Click here to view more photos of the event. **