USS Makin Island
“Gung Ho”
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Story Number: NNS080304-26
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Webb, Pre-Commissioning Unit Makin Island Public Affairs
PASCAGOULA, Miss. (NNS) -- More than 100 Sailors from Makin Island's (LHD 8) Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) in Pascagoula and Pre-commissioning Detachment (PCD) in San Diego attended Black Heritage Month observances Feb. 21.

Both PCU and PCD coordinated their celebrations to coincide with the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History theme of "Carter G. Woodson and the Origins of Multiculturalism."

The PCD's Diversity Council selected retired Force Master Chief Keith Goosby as their guest speaker. Diversity Council Advisor, Senior Chief Intelligence Specialist (SW) Travis Johnson, felt he was an excellent selection because of his military experience and his current dedication to the San Diego community.

"Master Chief Goosby is a talented veteran, who spent over 30 years in the Navy. He spoke about Mr. Woodson's many great achievements and how essential he is to black history as we know it," Johnson said.

PCU's guest speaker, James W. Crowell, III, echoed this year's theme by giving highlighting significant accomplishments of blacks, explaining how their accomplishments have helped to make America stronger and more diverse.

"There were 2.4 million black military veterans in this country in 2006, which is the largest military veteran minority group," said Crowell. "This country's no greater than the least of us, we are one band and must work together to achieve one sound."

Makin Island's prospective commanding officer, Capt. Robert Kopas echoed Crowell's sentiments.

"African-Americans have deeply enriched the fabric of our culture and our Navy, and we must remember that we are no better than the weakest link in the chain," Kopas said.

Makin Island's Diversity Council PCU committee member Information Systems Technician 1st Class Beckie Watts said picking an appropriate guest speaker was an important part of making this year's event a success.

"As president of the Biloxi NAACP, Mr. Crowell was an excellent selection for this year's guest speaker because of his over thirty five years of contributions in the areas of civil rights, equal opportunity and public service to the military and Gulf Coast community," Watts said.

Engineman 1st Class (SCW) Eric Green indicated he was particularly pleased with this year's event.

"Today's black history event was a very nice turnout and just as great as other observances I have attended," said Green. "I feel these events are a great way to pay tribute to the African-American pioneers, who have paved the way for people like me to make contributions to America and the Navy."

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