NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Celebrates African American History Month
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka’s Multi-Cultural Committee hosted an African American History Month celebration Feb. 25 onboard Yokosuka Naval Base.
The theme of this year’s celebration was ‘Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories’.
The event highlighted many accomplishments of African Americans in society and showcased several live musical performances to include: a gospel choir, jazz band and several guitar and vocal solos.
The keynote speaker was U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Robert Gibbons, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Joint Personal Property Office, traffic management chief.
Gibbons referenced a story about the Montford Point Marines, who in 1942 were the first black volunteers to begin Marine Corps training in a segregated boot camp.
“These Marines had the ultimate pride in being a black Marine patiently waiting on their chance to prove themselves as capable as the white Marines,” said Gibbons. “Because of the injustices and unfair practices these men suffered for the sake of defending the United States of America I have never had to utter the words that I am proud to be a black United States Marine but simply that I am proud to be a United States Marine.”
One cannot tell the story of America without preserving and reflecting on the places where African Americans have made history. This year’s theme prompts us to remember the people and places that over time have become hallowed grounds, and the people who helped define them, according to the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI).
“Although racial equality in the military was a long road traveled, through the efforts of those who fought for equality amongst whites and blacks in the military, the military was at the forefront of ensuring that racial discrimination, equality and segregation would end and be enforced not only in the military but also in the United States,” said Gibbons.
Echoing similar sentiments Capt. Raymond Bichard, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, commanding officer, said that everyone now has the same opportunity to succeed in the military if they work hard.
“Some have spoken of military service as the great equalizer,” said Bichard. “We wear the same clothes, we follow the same set of rules, regulations, doctrine and we bond through the same training and commitment to mission success.”
Bichard added that overall success depends on how well one can recognize, appreciate and harness an individual’s diverse talents.
One Sailor’s talent was certainly on display during the gospel choir performance.
“I felt so proud to take part in today’s event, especially, as an African American, a military member and part of NAVSUP,” said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Ericka Lowndes, gospel choir performer and NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, customer service representative.
Members of the NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka community joined together after the event to share in a pot-luck style meal and reflect on the cultural celebration.
“Today because of men who proved themselves to be capable Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen our children can attend schools together, participate in sports and attend birthday parties and play together without being restricted because of the color of their skin,” said Gibbons.
The Navy conducts activities in observance of nine specified diversity-related groups, events or individuals annually. Department of Defense themes are promulgated by DEOMI.
NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, one of eight fleet logistics centers under NAVSUP Global Logistics Support (GLS), is the Western Pacific region's largest U.S. Navy logistics command, headquartered just 26 miles due south of Tokyo, the enterprise networks more than 20 sites and fuel terminals from Misawa, Japan, to Sydney, Australia; Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to Guam with a mission to serve the Asia Pacific Region’s forward deployed maritime Warfighter with 24/7 operational logistics support integrating an extensive service provider network to deliver fuel, material, mail and supply chain services across the U.S. Navy’s largest geographical area of responsibility (AOR).
NAVSUP GLS provides global logistics for a global Navy. The organization is made up of approximately 6,300 military and civilian logistics professionals operating from 105 locations worldwide providing an extensive array of integrated global logistics and contracting services to Navy, Marine Corps, joint operational units, and allied forces across all warfare enterprises.
For more news from Naval Supply Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navsup/.