IWTC San Diego makes time to celebrate Black History Month

Photo By Michele Diamond | Logo for Information Warfare Training Command San Diego. (U.S. Navy graphic by Michele Diamond)
Photo By Michele Diamond | Logo for Information Warfare Training Command San Diego. (U.S. Navy graphic by Michele Diamond)

IWTC San Diego makes time to celebrate Black History Month

Center for Information Warfare Training

SAN DIEGO – Information Warfare Training Command San Diego (IWTCSD) and its training sites in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Yokosuka, Japan honored the achievements of African Americans and their positive impacts on the history of the United States and Department of Defense throughout February.

During their Black History celebration on Feb. 25, Sailors at IWTCSD came together to reflect on the history and contributions of African Americans in the U.S. Navy and the impact of their actions which has enabled the success of many future generations of Sailors.

Led by Cryptologic Technician Technical 1st Class Romon Vanarsdale, the command's Cultural Awareness Committee lead, the event focused on the important role African Americans have played in Naval history. Vanarsdale addressed the achievements of the Golden Thirteen, the first thirteen U.S. Navy African American officers, as well as Adm. Michelle Howard, Vice Adm. Samuel Gravely, Rear Adm. Benjamin Hacker, Ensign Jesse Brown, Fleet Master Chief Petty Officer April Beldo, Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate Carl Brashear, Chief Gunner’s Mate John Turpin, and Sonar Technician Lanier Phillips, all African American trailblazers who inspired many people from all backgrounds to pursue greatness.

Intelligence Specialist Chiefs Christopher Smith and Ernest Tyrone Buckner, both recently selected to commission as chief warrant officers, credited the achievements of “The Golden Thirteen,” with helping pave the way for other African American Sailors and officers to succeed in and out of uniform.

Specifically, Smith holds special meaning in one of Lt. j.g. Samuel Barnes’ messages, “We [Golden Thirteen] were the foot in the door for the other Blacks, and we were determined not to be the ones responsible for having the foot removed.” Smith explained why this message is important, “Their [Golden Thirteen] efforts paid off. In 1971, just 27 years after commissioning the first Black officers, the Navy had its first Black admiral, Vice Adm. Samuel Gravely.”

“African American/Black History month is more than just highlighting the great accomplishments of Black Sailors of the past,” said Buckner. “It’s also about stopping to reflect on the current Black trendsetters and influencers of today. Chief petty officers are the custodians of heritage and tradition. As a Black chief petty officer, I take that charge personally. I honor the feats and accomplishments of yesterday and strive to continue to serve as an example for junior and future Sailors. We do this by spreading knowledge, continuously striving to do better than yesterday, and above all always remembering where we came from.”

IWTCSD currently offers courses of instruction in information technology, cryptology, and intelligence with an instructor and support staff of over 150 military, civilian, and contract members who train over 6,400 students every year at three training sites in the San Diego area. It is one of four school houses for Center for Information Warfare Training. Information Warfare Training Command San Diego, as part of the Center for Information Warfare Training, provides a continuum of training to Navy and joint service personnel that prepares them to conduct information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations.

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