February is Black History Month. It is a time to reflect upon and celebrate the tremendous contributions that African Americans Soldiers, civilians and their Family members have made to the Army.

“African Americans in Times of War,” the 2018 theme, emphasizes the sacrifices African Americans have made in the defense of the nation – from Revolutionary War to present day.

African Americans continue to serve in the Army with great honor and distinction and build a legacy of courage and professionalism. This legacy continues to inspire generations to service.

African Americans make up more than 19 percent of the Total Army. The Army stands on the tradition of the sacrifices made by African American Soldiers that include:

•The slaves who joined the Continental Army in exchange for the promise of freedom.

•The Louisiana Free Men of Color who fought in the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812.

•Those who served in the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment of the Union Army.

•The Buffalo Soldiers.

•The Harlem Hell Fighters of New York’s 369th Infantry Regiment in WWI.

•The Tuskegee Airmen, the “Triple Nickles.”

•The all-black airborne unit in WWII.

•The brave drivers of the “Red Ball Express,” who brought supplies to Allied Forces after D-Day.

•The “Black Panthers” of the 761st Tank Battalion in WWII.

The courage and leadership of African-American Soldiers has empowered and encouraged future generations of Soldiers to answer the call to duty in defense of the nation.

Army leaders will continue to sustain force capability by properly seeking out, accessing, developing and fully implementing the individual talents and backgrounds of Soldiers and civilians. To sustain a high-quality Army that is trained and ready, the Army will continue to ensure that all Soldiers and civilians are given the opportunity to maximize their talents and potential.

The Army strongly embraces diversity as a way to maximize individual talent, increase morale and greatly enhance military effectiveness – regardless of race, creed or color. The Army finds its strength not only in its diversity, but in its ability to bring together people of different faiths, cultures and races who share common values like duty, honor, selfless service, loyalty and respect. The Army is confident that the many talents, skills and abilities in the diverse force will help to meet future defense challenges and win the nation’s wars.