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Camp Lemonnier Recognizes Black History Month

24 February 2023

From Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Randi Brown

Black History Month, also known as National African American History Month, is an annual observance celebrating achievements by African Americans in their central role in U.S. history. Throughout the month of February civilians and service members deployed to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, came together to share and reflect on the importance of the heritage behind Black History.
During CLDJ'S Black History Month cake cutting, Capt. Brian R. Iber, commanding officer, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, recognized the accomplishments African American service members, past, present and future.

“It's outstanding that we are able to celebrate Black History Month," said Iber. "There are so many great things that African Americans have contributed to throughout the history of America, as innovators, inventors, soldiers, sailors and heroes.”

The cake cutting celebration was held in CLDJ's Doris "Dorie" Miller Galley that is named after a Messman Dorie Miller who served aboard the battleship West Virginia when it was attacked in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 1941.

When his ship was hit with enemy fire, Miller, who had no weapons training, manned the anti-aircraft machine gun and shot down Japanese enemy planes during the attack.

U.S. military history is filled with brave African American men and women who have dared to challenge the status quo, fight for this country and win. African American service members have continued to break barriers and make history.

The final CLDJ Black History Month ceremony was held Feb. 24 to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of all African Americans.

"The significance of Black History Month in the military is acknowledging our past so that we may continue to shape our future. It is our duty to continue to inspire change through our actions and our experiences," said Personnel Specialist 1st Class Ronald Hamilton. "As a Black military leader, I feel a responsibility to the people who came before me and those who will come after, to educate and inspire throughout history and impact throughout the years."

The official 2023 Black History Month theme is "Inspiring Change" that epitomizes the contributions of African Americans to challenging racial inequities and promoting opportunities for equal advancement within the African community.

As we continue to remember the past, we must continue to honor and celebrate African Americans' resiliency and together, move forward against prejudice in the future.

As Lt. Duane Hardy, chaplain, put it in his closing remarks, "were not there yet, but we have come a long way."

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