Mobile Bay Sailors Celebrate African American History
By By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Armando Gonzales
U.S. 5th Fleet AREA of RESPONSIBILITY -- Sailors aboard Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) honored accomplishments of African-American leaders in the Navy during an at-sea presentation on the ship's mess decks, Feb. 27.

"I just wanted to be a part of something that represents myself and the ship," said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Angel Robinson, who spent extensive off time researching famous African-Americans Navy personnel for the brief. "It was also a learning experience, because some of that stuff I didn't know."

Robinson put together history lessons for the crew presenting African-American firsts such as the Golden 13, who were the first African-American commissioned officers in the Navy, and Capt. Joan C. Bynum, who was the first African-American woman promoted to the rank of Captain.

"I think it's interesting all the facts the Navy brings up about African-Americans over the years," said Operations Specialist 3rd Class Guillermo Carrillo, who attended the presentation. "Where I'm from, it's a very diverse community just like it is here, and I think it's a good thing."

Another African-American leader Robinson discussed was Cmdr. Michelle Howard who was the first black woman to command a U.S. Navy ship and is still serving today.

"I looked at the power point and it made me proud, and I feel like we've come so far," said Robinson. "During my research I actually made contact with some relatives from my grandfather's side and I learned that my great-great grandfather was the first black postmaster in a town in Mississippi."

The Navy holds ceremonies every year for African-American heritage, helping Sailors maintain the Navy's core values of honor, courage and commitment.

"When you come in the Navy it should be all about equal opportunity," said Capt. Thomas Halvorson, commanding officer of Mobile Bay. "If you're the best at your job, you should be recognized."

Mobile Bay is deployed with the John C. Stennis strike group to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security corporation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom.
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