RTC commemorates Black History Month
Recruit Training Command (RTC) commemorated this year’s Black History month with a command-wide event Feb. 21 in Midway Ceremonial Drill Hall.
RTC staff celebrated the historical contributions and sacrifices made by African Americans striving for equality, blazing a trail for future sailors.
The first African American officers in naval history were commissioned in 1944. The 12 commissioned officers and one warrant officer became known as the “Golden Thirteen.”
“February is the one month out of the year set aside to focus on the contributions that African Americans have made to the Navy and society,” said Cmdr. Kertreck Brooks, executive officer of RTC. “I feel it is important to recognize the legacy of accomplishments and honorable service of blacks, which historically, were omitted from our overall history.”
In 1917, John Henry Turpin became the first African American chief petty officer, the Navy’s highest enlisted rank at the time. A chief gunner’s mate, he was one of the Navy’s first divers and was one of the people responsible for perfecting the underwater cutting torch.
“Black History Month to me is a time to recognize the struggles and contributions African Americans made to allow me to have the opportunities I have today,” said ITCM(SW/FMF) Troy Thibeaux, leading chief petty offer for student control department. “It also gives us an opportunity to educate younger generations about the growth of our country.”
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