YOKOSUKA, JAPAN - On Friday February 11th the Multicultural Committee aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen hosted a Black History Month celebration. The program included presentations and performances by several of the crew, including special guest speaker Command Master Chief (CMC) Miller of USS Shiloh.
After the invocation delivered by Chief Gunner’s Mate Bless Roberts, crew members displayed a series of cultural exhibitions. Information Technician 3rd Class Rex Bagalawis choreographed and performed a break dance to Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” Yeoman 3rd Class Corey Taylor produced and performed one of his own songs titled “Keep Dreaming.” Yeoman 2nd Class Anthony Williams recited an original poem entitled “Africa.” Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Juliana Myrtil, Damage Controlman 2nd Class Linda Ogbah, and Damage Controlman 3rd Class Shellon Bonus highlighted the ceremony with a dance to Shakira’s “This is Africa.”
“This was a remarkable presentation by the Multicultural Committee,” commented Lassen’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Chip Wrye. “There was a high level of participation from the crew and I am very proud of their dedication and passion.”
Paying tribute, crew members also dressed up as past and present African American cultural icons. Personnel Specialist 1st Class Cordell Myles dressed as educator, author and political leader Booker T. Washington. Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Deandre Carswell was basketball star Michael Jordan. Yeoman 2nd Class Anthony Williams was actor and director Tyler Perry. Operations Specialist 1st Class Ranona Robinson dressed as talk show host Oprah Winfrey. Operations Specialist Seaman Ashley Coleman was rap artist Jay-Z. Gas Turbine Systems Electrical 1st Class Carey Griffith represented President Barack Obama. Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Arthur Johnson played famous lawyer Johnnie Cochran and Ship Serviceman Seaman Beatles dressed as USS Shiloh’s CMC Miller.
In her guest speaker remarks, CMC Miller discussed African American heritage throughout our nation’s history and stressed the importance of applying the lessons learned throughout history to our present day situations.
The ceremony concluded with a cake cutting by Cmdr. Wrye and Lassen’s youngest sailor, Fireman Recruit Davon Blanding. Lassen is assigned to DESRON 15 and is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.