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Past, Present African American Heroes Honored

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

MONTGOMERY, Ala., Feb. 24, 2005 – Past and present heroes were honored as part of the Defense Department's "Taking the Pentagon to the People" National African-American History Month observance at the Embassy Suites Hotel here Feb. 23.

Hosted by Maj. Gen. Ronald L. Johnson, commander of the Army Installation Management Agency, a reception was held for DoD officials, presidents of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, college and university administrators, local government officials, and community members and organizations. Activities included recognizing servicemembers, both past and present, including those who recently served abroad in support of the global war on terrorism.

"Throughout most of the day today, DoD personnel have met with a variety of administrators from HBCUs across the country to discuss procedures on how to apply for DoD contracts and grants, how to take advantage of DoD science, technology and research and development opportunities," said Charles S. Abell, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "We also discussed how to obtain surplus property and equipment from DoD, and internship and ROTC scholarship opportunities.

Today's events, he added, will include a symposium for HBCU presidents and expositions for high school and college students.

Abell said many of the men and women being honored for contributions to national defense participated in the ongoing campaign against world terrorism in either Afghanistan or Iraq. "Others participated in earlier conflicts," he continued. "But regardless of when, each honoree has made a notable personal contribution and represents a true reflection of the high standards and valued services that are performed conscientiously every day by our uniformed personnel."

Noting that American armed forces are serving in harm's way in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world, Abell pointed out that servicemembers also are assisting those in need in the aftermath of horrific disasters like the recent tsunami that struck South Asia.

"American military personnel are actively engaged in that relief effort, and although not represented here tonight, I would like to acknowledge the contributions of more than 18,000 Marines, sailors, airmen, soldiers and Coast Guardsmen currently working with international militaries and nongovernmental relief organizations to aid affected people in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia," Abell said.

Past hero honorees were two World War II members of the Tuskegee Airmen. They were retired Lt. Col. Hubert E. Carter and his wife Mildred, and retired Maj. Carroll S. Woods.

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Willie A. Alexander was honored as Alabama's first African-American adjutant general.

Twelve servicemembers were honored as present-day heroes. They were Army Staff Sgts. James A. Coatie, a platoon sergeant with the 16th Quartermaster Company, Fort Lee, Va., and Jerry Reddick of the 160th Military Police Battalion, Tallahassee, Fla.; Navy Cmdr. Todd A. Lewis, executive officer, USS Juneau, and Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Michael A. Wright, Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Force, Navy Cargo Handling Battalion 7, Great Lakes, Ill; Marine Capt. Gerald A. Thomas, serving under a congressional fellows program as an aide to U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. of Georgia, and Cpl. Insider J. Marshall, Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773, Marine Aircraft Group 42, Detachment C, Bell Chase, La.

Also honored were Air Force Master Sgt. Linnell Johnson, 919th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base Field 3, Fla., Tech. Sgt. Bobby V. Harris, professional military education instructor, Gunter Noncommissioned Officers Academy, Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Ala., and Tech. Sgt. Carlton L. Marriweather, vehicle operations technician, 187th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Alabama Air National Guard; Coast Guard Seaman Gerald J. Fox IV, Law Enforcement Detachment 403, Miami, Fla., and Petty Officer 1st Class Craig L. Reid, Coast Guard Recruiting Office, Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Master Sgt. Jimmy F. Patrick, operations sergeant, 214th Military Police Company, Alabama Army National Guard.

Contact Author

Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Charles S. Abell

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DoD Reaches Out to Historically Black Colleges, Universities

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