Archive for the 'Diversity' Category

Feb 17

Black History Month Spotlight: Civil War MOH Recipient Robert Blake

Thursday, February 17, 2011 9:01 AM


Contraband Robert Blake (Photo#: NH 103762)   Robert Blake was born into slavery in Virginia. After escaping, he enlisted in the US Navy from Port Royal, Virginia and served on USS Marblehead during the Civil War. While off Legareville, Stono River, South Carolina, on 25 December 1863, Blake bravely served the rifle gun as Marblehead engaged Confederates on John’s Island. The enemy eventually abandoned its position leaving munitions behind. For his bravery in this action, Blake was awarded the Medal of Honor. USS Marblehead engages a Confederate Battery on John’s Island, Stono River, South Carolina, 25 December 1863 (Photo#: NH… Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 7

Pearl Harbor through the eyes of Tai Sing Loo

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 1:00 AM


Tai Sing Loo was the official Navy photographer of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In this excerpt from Air Raid: Pearl Harbor edited by Paul Stillwell, Mr. Loo provided a unique account of his experiences that day. How I Were at Pearl Harbor By Tai Sing Loo On the 6th of December, Saturday afternoon, I had made arrangement with [Platoon] Sergeant [Charles R.] Christenot to have all his Guard be at the Main Gate between 8:30 to 9:30 o’clock Sunday morning to have a group of picture taken in front of the new concrete entrance… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 11

LCDR Eugene Valencia

Thursday, November 11, 2010 6:01 AM


United States Navy fighter squadron VF-9 served on board the carrier Essex (CV 9) during that ship’s first cruise in the South Pacific in 1943-1944. LCDR Eugene Valencia got his baptism of fire in October 1943 during strikes against Japanese forces on Wake Island and at Tarawa. On 11 November, Essex launched an attack on Japanese shipping in Rabaul Harbor. Assigned to escort the strike group that morning, Valencia made three strafing runs on a heavy cruiser despite heavy antiaircraft fire, assisted in covering torpedo planes returning from the attack, and shot down his first enemy plane. That afternoon, while… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 1

Lieutenant Kenneth L. Vargas, USN, a Seabee Combat Warfare officer and a proud member of the Choctaw Nation

Monday, November 1, 2010 12:01 AM


November marks the start of National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month and it is an especially good time to introduce Lieutenant Kenneth L. Vargas, USN, a Seabee Combat Warfare officer and a proud member of the Choctaw Nation. He makes presentations about the contributions of Native Americans in the military and to American society because “Educating my Navy family on my culture is a great privilege for my family and me. There are many misconceptions in the general population about Native American culture, ranging from the idea that Native Americans do not pay taxes to the notion that… Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 25

CDR. Ernest Evans, Skipper of USS Johnston (DD-557)

Monday, October 25, 2010 12:01 AM


At first light on 25 October 1944, huge geysers of water shot up near the destroyer Johnston. That ship and half a dozen other American destroyers were escorting half a dozen jeep carriers off Samar. A shaky voice on Johnston’s talk between ships radio reported “a major portion” of the Japanese fleet fifteen miles astern. Commander Ernest Evans, the skipper, burst out of his sea cabin, barking out orders: All hands general quarters! Light off all boilers for maximum speed! Make smoke! Ernest Evans had come up the hard way, harder than most. His white paternal grandfather had married a… Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 19

“They Would Be Amazed”

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 12:01 AM


“Navy admits Negroes into the WAVES:” so read the headlines following the Navy Department’s October 19, 1944, press release announcing this change. This was indeed good news to the civic, religious, and civil rights organizations, the Afro-American sororities, Mary McLeod Bethune and others who had urged the Navy to have an integrated female reserve program since its inception. Captain Mildred McAfee, the director of the WAVES program, also advocated for their inclusion. The White House received petitions and numerous letters from whites and blacks a like arguing that not allowing blacks in the WAVES was discriminatory and inconsistent with America’s… Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 12

Breaking the Mold: The Ben Cloud Story

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 12:01 AM


Flying over Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War in an RF-8 Crusader, Ben Cloud never pondered his status as an officer of African American and Native American descent. His main concern was getting good photos of the Ho Chi Minh trail, and surviving the antiaircraft fire he received on every mission. Cloud came from a middle class family from San Diego, Calif., and entered the Naval Aviation Cadet program at the onset of the Korean War. He later was selected to fly one of the hottest planes of the period, the F9F Panther. By 1971 his career was on a… Read the rest of this entry »

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