Outside the National Museum of the United States Army in Fort Belvoir, Va., there is a marker commemorating the service of American Civil War veteran Sgt. William H. Carney.
Carney, who was born into the institution of slavery in southern Virginia in 1840, enlisted in the United States Army as a freeman during the American Civil War. When the color guard of his 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment was killed in the Battle of Fort Wagner in Charleston, South Carolina, Carney retrieved the American flag and marched forward despite several shots. He was the first black serviceman to receive the Medal of Honor for gallantry in combat. His portrait now welcomes visitors to the first national museum to tell the story of America’s oldest military service.
The story of Carney, and thousands of others, is celebrated during Army Heritage Month in June and recognized on National Independence Day June 19, which officially became the eleventh federal holiday in 2021.
The histories of African Americans and the US military are intertwined.
Much like America’s first Independence Day, the United States military played a fundamental role in securing the freedoms granted to black Americans through the Emancipation Proclamation and Reconstruction Amendments. The United States military remembers its role in freeing enslaved people throughout the Confederacy as one of its major legacies. For many Americans, Juneteenth is a “second” Independence Day celebrating the end of slavery.
All three command group leaders, who happen to be African American, feel honored to celebrate this federal holiday for the first time in the military and with the 21st TSC.
For the military which has just completed celebrating its 247th anniversary, it is a celebration and testament to its principles of diversity and inclusion, as well as an honor for all minority leaders who paved the way for the next generation of leaders.
“It’s an honor to be in the military and officially celebrate June 19 this year,” said Major General James Smith, commanding general of 21st Theater Sustainment Command. “As we celebrate Army Heritage Month, we remember the legacy of the great African Americans who paved the way for us in the military and in the multitude of professional sectors of society.”
Within American society, many have a double hat serving their civil societies while defending their country within these professional societies.
Brig. General Wanda Williams, commanding general of the 7th Mission Support Command is no stranger to this way of life.
Williams not only commands her organization and serves as deputy commanding general of the 21st TSC, but she is also an accountant for the Securities and Exchange Commission.
As the first black female commanding general of the 7th MSC, the June 19 holiday reflects how far the United States has come in its efforts to make institutions more representative of the people they serve.
“As an Army Reservist with the Army’s only forward MSC, I am a constant and proud advocate of the U.S. Army Reserve, where African Americans make up one in five soldiers,” said Williams. “I am proud of the legacy we continue to build and it is an honor to officially celebrate this holiday this year.
Stepping into a unit with both active duty and reserve soldiers comes with significant challenges. This is nothing new for Command Sgt. Maj. Kofie Primus, Senior Enlisted Advisor, 21st TSC.
Primus relinquished responsibility for the Army’s 405th Field Support Brigade on 26 May, which is made up of a primarily civilian DA organization. There, the unit’s host nation employees, active duty and reserve soldiers, and our nation’s allies are an integral part of the Army’s prepositioned stock operations.
Building a team based on dignity, respect and understanding is the cornerstone of any organization. Primus intends to uphold these same values and principles as Team 21’s new Senior Enlisted Advisor, and is emphasizing these key aspects during Army Heritage Month.
“As NCOs, it is our duty to care for soldiers and create an inclusive environment with mutual respect and team cohesion,” Primus said. “This nation and the military do it, because Juneteenth honors the black soldiers who fought and sacrificed to make sure the Constitution fulfilled its promise to all Americans.”
Juneteenth is a holiday for all Americans. This Army Heritage Month, as we celebrate all cultures and customs within our elite organization, the leaders of Team 21 embody the hope and spirit of this nation’s past and the bright future for our Army.
|Date posted:||19.06.2022 12:00|
|Location:||KAISERSLAUTERN, RP, DE|
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