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Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

Team Truman Celebrates Black History Month

by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sean Furey
27 February 2022

The Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) commemorated the culmination of Black History month with a celebration of black excellence aboard the ship, Feb. 27.       

African Americans have a long, storied history of naval service, predating the establishment of the Navy, that carries through all ages of peace and conflict. These trailblazers have occupied every rank, rate and position throughout the Navy and continue to stand out as an example of honorable service.

The event kicked off with a speech from Lt. Cmdr. Frankie Bonner, a pilot assigned to Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 126, the master of ceremonies, touching on the 13th amendment and the Harlem Renaissance.

Black history is still being made today,” said Bonner. “Time does not stop, that means each and every one of us have an opportunity, starting today, to continue to make that history."

The ceremony included poetry readings, educational segments, a step team performance and “Who Am I” presentations where Truman Sailors shared stories of influential African Americans throughout history, as well as their own life experiences.

"Black History Month is about more than just an observance. It is about education. It is a tool we use to stay connected to our lineage and understand where we come from, how we got here and where we are going as a people,” said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Daniel Lee Garwood, an events participants. “Black history is laced in controversial and uncomfortable topics, however it is up to us to navigate this section of our history together with people of all races to help clearly paint the picture of who we are.”
Towards the end of ceremony Truman’s commanding officer, Capt. Gavin Duff, offered his thoughts regarding the importance of diversity and unity.

“Relationships are what provide the strength, and it is that strength that provides the excellence and the unity,” said Duff. “That is what I see when I look around, a sense of unity. I see individuals from every walk of life, come together to celebrate and grow and learn more about one another. It is that strength that makes us individually and uniquely excellent, as individuals, as people, and as a team.”
The ceremony concluded with closing remarks from Rear Adm. Curt Renshaw, commander, Carrier Strike Group Eight.

"It's because of your dedication and hard work that Sailors throughout the ship have a better understanding of Black History - of our history," said Renshaw. "Because, it is not as though Black History somehow stands alone - U.S. history is Black History and Black History is U.S. history as a completely enmeshed history that forms the very fabric of our nation. But to ignore our history is a surest way for us to repeat it, and to deny the imperfections of our country prevents us from achieving the goal, set forth in the constitution that we support and defend, to move forward together toward a more perfect union."

This event could not have happened without the hard work and dedication of the Multi-Cultural Heritage Committee (MCHC) and their mission to shine a light on black excellence in the past and now.

“Preparation for this event has been going on for months and highlights the dedication and creativity we have on board this ship,” said Garwood. “Stereotypical beliefs and racism is rooted in ignorance. Ignorance is countered by education. Therefore, through learning about black history, we are all making strides at becoming better as a people."

The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to maintain maritime stability and security, and defend U.S., allied and partner interests in Europe and Africa.

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