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African American Soldiers in History

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Presentation on theme: "African American Soldiers in History"— Presentation transcript:

1 African American Soldiers in History
Can You Name Them All? Click on each photo on the next slide to reveal the names and achievements of some outstanding African American soldiers.


3 Sergeant William H. Carney
First African American to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. In 1863, Sergeant William Carney entered the military and became a member of the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry. In July of 1863, Carney found himself in the fierce Battle of Fort Wagner. After being wounded, Sergeant Carney saw that the color bearer had been shot down a few feet away. Carney summoned all his strength to retrieve the fallen colors and continued the charge. During the charge Carney was shot several more times, yet he kept the colors flying high. Once delivering the flag back to his regiment, he shouted “The Old Flag never touched the ground!” For this act Sergeant Carney became the first African American to receive the Medal of Honor. Source:

4 Cathay Williams aka William Cathay
First African American Woman to Enlist in U. S. Army On November 15, 1866, Cathay Williams enlisted in the Army using the name William Cathay. She informed her recruiting officer that she was a 22 year-old cook. He described her as 5’ 9”, with black eyes, black hair and black complexion. An Army surgeon examined Cathay and determined the recruit was fit for duty, thus sealing her fate in history as the first documented African-American woman to enlist in the Army even though U.S. Army regulations forbade the enlistment of women She was assigned to the 38th U.S. Infantry and traveled throughout the west with her unit. During her service, she was hospitalized at least five times, but no one discovered she was a female. After less than two years of service, Cathay was given a disability discharge but little is known of the exact medical reasons. Source:

5 Harriet Tubman After the outbreak of the Civil War, Tubman served as a Soldier, spy, and a nurse, for a time serving at Fortress Monroe, where Jefferson Davis would later be imprisoned. While guiding a group of black Soldiers in South Carolina, she met Nelson Davis, who was ten years her junior. Denied payment for her wartime service, Tubman was forced, after a bruising fight, to ride in a baggage car on her return to Auburn. After her death, Harriet Tubman was buried in Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, with military honors. She has since received many honors, including the naming of the Liberty Ship Harriet Tubman, christened in 1944 by Eleanor Roosevelt. On June 14, 1914 a large bronze plaque was placed at the Cayuga County Courthouse, and a civic holiday declared in her honor. Freedom Park, a tribute to the memory of Harriet Tubman, opened in the summer of 1994 at 17 North Street in Auburn. In 1995, Harriet Tubman was honored by the federal government with a commemorative postage stamp bearing her name and likeness. Source:

6 Lieutenant Henry Ossian Flipper
Appointed to U.S. Military Academy: 1873 In 1877, Henry Flipper became the first African American to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy. He was commissioned second lieutenant and assigned to the 10th Cavalry Unit. He was commissioned second lieutenant and assigned to the 10th Cavalry Unit. Although Flipper became the first African-American Army officer, his military career was brief. In 1882, he was a part of a controversial dismissal for “conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentlemen” following questionable charges of embezzling funds. Throughout his civilian life, Flipper maintained that he was innocent of the charges. Following his death in 1940, his family and supporters continued the fight to clear his name. In 1999, President William Clinton pardoned Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper, recognizing the error and acknowledging the lifetime accomplishments of this American Soldier.

7 Brigadier General Benjamin O. Davis, Sr.
First African American General Officer Entered Service: July 13, 1898 Benjamin O. Davis entered the service during the War with Spain as a temporary first lieutenant of the 8th U.S. Volunteer Infantry. In 1899, he was discharged from the service. In June of the same year, he again enlisted, this time as a private in the 9th Cavalry. He then served as corporal and squadron sergeant major, and on February 2, 1901, he was commissioned a second lieutenant of Cavalry. In 1940, he became the first African-American General Officer in the U.S. Armed Forces, earning the rank of brigadier general. General Davis served as an inspector for the Inspector General and later as a special investigator for the Secretary of War’s Advisory Committee on Negro Troop Policies. His investigations of discrimination and racial disturbances brought to light the problems of a racially closed military. Source:

8 Command Sergeant Major Evelyn Hollis
First Female Command Sergeant Major of a Combat Arms Unit Command Sergeant Major Evelyn Hollis is currently attached to the 1st Battalion, 31st Air Defense Artillery Command. She entered the Army in 1979 during a time of great debate over whether women should serve in combat units. She started her military career as an Administrative Specialist. In the 1990’s, numerous opportunities began opening for women to serve in combat arms units. During this time, she was offered the opportunity to advance her career by switching her career field to Air Defense Artillery. Since then, Hollis has moved through the ranks and received the Bronze Star for her service during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. In April 2004, she made history when she became the first female Command Sergeant Major of a combat arms unit by assuming duties of the 1st Battalion 31st Air Defense Artillery Command. Source:

9 Brigadier General Belinda Pinckney
Brigadier General Belinda Pinckney is the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center in Alexandria, Virginia. She began her Army career as an enlisted Soldier, a young private. Later, she elected to become an officer and was accepted into Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, where she was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1979. Brigadier General Pinckney is the first woman in the history of the Army Finance Corps to be promoted to general and the first woman selected as a general officer in the comptroller field. She was formerly the principal deputy director of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. Prior to that, she worked at the Pentagon as a congressional liaison officer for the undersecretary of defense comptroller. Brigadier General Pinckney holds a bachelor’s degree in busines administration from the University of Maryland, a master’s degrees in finance and in natural resources strategy. She is one of two African Americans among the 11 female general officers currently on active duty in the U.S. Army. She is the first African American woman to be inducted into the Officer Candidate School’s Hall of Fame. Source:

10 Sergeant Micheaux Sanders
Silver Star Recipient, Operation Iraqi Freedom Sergeant Micheaux Sanders deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, fresh from Army basic training. Sanders’ tank crew and two others from his unit were called to the aid of a 1st Cavalry patrol trapped in an ambush by Iraqi insurgents. Because the unit had been scheduled to move, the tanks had been prepared for transport, and were carrying only a minimum load of ammo. Sanders said he did his best, standing exposed to the enemy in one of the tank’s hatches and firing whatever he or his fellow crew members could find. A round struck Sanders in the arm, slicing straight through his shoulder and out the other side, but he says he barely noticed, waving off the medics who tried to come to his aid. When the bullets ran out, Sanders still wouldn’t give up. When he ran out of bullets, he threw rocks. Source:

11 Brigadier General Vincent Brooks
Entered Service: May 1980 During the American-led war with Iraq in the early months of 2003, TV audiences around the world watched Brigadier General Brooks conduct the daily press conferences for the Army. He was widely referred to as “the face of the U.S. military.” At West Point, Brooks became the first African American in the school’s history to be named cadet brigade commander (the top-ranking cadet), a position in which, somewhat like the president of a college class, he led more than 4,000 cadets during his senior year. Brooks graduated first in his class in 1980. Moving through the ranks in the Army, Brooks served as a brigade commander during Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo. In June 2002, he became the spokesman for the U.S. Army Central Command in Qatar during Operation Enduring Freedom. His father, Major General Leo A. Brooks, Sr. (ret.), is the first African American Army General with two sons who have attained the rank of General. Source:

12 Lieutenant General Michael D. Rochelle
Lieutenant General Rochelle assumed duties as the Deputy Chief of Staff,G-1 (Army Personnel), United States Army, in June His previous command assignments include commander of the 226th Adjutant General Company (Postal) in Munich, Germany; the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Station, Portland, Maine; the New England Recruiting Battalion), Brunswick, Maine; the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Monroe, Virginia; the U.S. Army Soldier Support Institute, Fort Jackson, South Carolina; and the Commanding General, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, Fort Knox, Kentucky. Lieutenant General Rochelle earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Foreign Language Education from Norfolk State University in Virginia. He also holds a Master of Arts Degree in Public Administration. Lieutenant General Rochelle is a highly decorated officer. He has been awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster (Army), the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, Recruiter Badge, Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge, Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge, and the Army Staff Identification Badge. Source:

13 General Colin L. Powell On January 20, 2001, Colin L. Powell became the first African American to be appointed to the position of Secretary of State. Before becoming Secretary of State, Powell served 35 years in the U. S. Army, achieving the rank of four-star General. He was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in January 1991, during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Powell began his military career in the ROTC program at the City College of New York and received his commission as a second lieutenant upon graduation in June As Secretary, Powell used both his military and diplomatic skills in representing our country and its interests in the Global War on Terrorism. He also led the State Department in major efforts to solve regional and civil conflicts throughout the world, enhance U.S. trade and business, and fight global infectious disease around the world, especially the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Source:

14 General William E. (Kip) Ward
General William E. (Kip) Ward is Deputy Commander, Headquarters US European Command, Stuttgart, Germany. USEUCOM is responsible for the day to day operational activities for US forces operating across 92 countries in Europe, Africa, Russia, parts of Asia and the Middle East, the Mediterranean and most of the Atlantic Ocean. General Ward was commissioned as a Regular Army officer after earning a bachelor’s in political science from Morgan State University and a master’s degree in political science from Pennsylvania State University. His military service includes overseas tours in Korea, Egypt, Somalia, Bosnia, Israel, two tours in Germany, and a wide variety of assignments in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. He was a brigade commander in Mogadishu, Somalia. For a year, until October 2003, he commanded the Nato Stabilization Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He has also toured in South Korea, Germany, and served at the American Embassy in Egypt. Subsequently, he was Deputy Commander, Headquarters US European Command, Stuttgart, Germany. USEUCOM is responsible for the day to day operational activities for US forces operating across 92 countries in Europe, Africa, Russia, parts of Asia and the Middle East, the Mediterranean and most of the Atlantic Ocean. Source:

15 Chaplain (Major) Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad
First African American Muslim U. S. Army Chaplain Major Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad enlisted in the Army in 1982 with one mission, to support and counsel Soldiers. He spent most of his three-year tour of duty working as a chaplain’s assistant and a behavioral science specialist. With his Masters Degree and experience in counseling, he continued his work in social services after he left the Army in 1985. He was working as a chaplain for the New York Department of Corrections when he learned that the Army was searching for Muslim chaplains. In 1994, he was accepted for the position and returned to military duty. For 10 years, he served as a chaplain at several Army post around the world providing pastoral care to Soldiers of all faiths. In 2004, he was deployed to support Soldiers in Iraq. MAJ Muhammad believes that a chaplain’s role is to be an advocate for the religious needs of everyone he or she serves. He is currently stationed in Heidelberg, Germany where he counsels Soldiers and their families. Source: Interview

16 Sergeant Major Vicki L. Washington
Highest Ranking Public Affairs Non-Commissioned Officer Sergeant Major Vicki L. Washington found her dream career in the Army: print and broadcast journalism. As a reporter, talk show producer and host, she has been stationed in idyllic places such as Hawaii and has reported live from historic events in world history such as the fall of the Berlin Wall. While in Germany, she took the helm of an AFN (Armed Forces Network) show called, “Berlin PM”, reformatting it into an interview show that hosted celebrities who were visiting the city. Her very first guest was legendary actor Kirk Douglas. After 12 years as an active duty journalist Soldier, Sergeant Major Washington returned to civilian life and became a producer at a Hawaiian television station. She didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as her previous job, so she enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve and resumed her work with Army Public Affairs. After a series of promotions, including management of a production budget of more than one million dollars for the Army Reserve Magazine, she is now the highest-ranking non-commissioned officer in Army Reserve Public Affairs. She oversees the training, mobilization, and deployment of journalist Soldiers. She is the first African American in that position. Source:

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