Welcome to the Chaplain’s Corner

February 2018

Greetings NNOA Family and Friends,

Welcome to the fabulous month of February! During this month we observe African American history and celebrate the contributions African Americans have made in the United States and throughout the world. NNOA is a champion for diversity. Our association was birthed during a critical time in our Nation’s history. Throughout the history of the United States until the end of World War I, the Navy had enlisted African Americans for general service. Minority men were barred from joining from 1919 to 1932. From 1893 onwards, African Americans could only join the Navy’s Messman’s and Steward’s branches, which not only segregated African Americans from the rest of Naval Service, but also precluded them from becoming commissioned officers. In January 1944 the Navy began an accelerated 2 month officer training course at Camp Robert Small for 16 African American men. Although all 16 men passed the course only 12 were commissioned March 1944. They were John Walter Reagan, Jesse Walter Arbor,Samuel David Jones, Darion Damon Ivy III, Graham Edward Martin, Philip George Barnes, Reginald Goodwin, James Edward Hair, Samuel Edward Barnes, George Clinton Cooper, William Sylvester White, and Dennis Denmark Nelson were all commissioned Ensigns; Charles Byrd Lear was appointed as a Warrant Officer. The first African American Naval Officers are known as “The Golden Thirteen.” Their legacy remains forever etched in Naval history. May we always remember those who broke barriers; We owe them our solemn gratitude for playing such a vital role in transforming the culture in the United States Navy. Innovative leadership is enhanced by diversity and synching brilliant, talented leadership with challenging opportunities. Now in 2018 we gather together in the Spirit of Diversity and unity to sing:

God of our weary years
God of our silent tears
Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way
Thou who hast by Thy might
Led us into the light
Keep us forever in the path, we pray
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee
Shadowed beneath Thy hand
May we forever stand
True to our God
True to our native land

Rev. Kimberly Cain,
NNOA Chaplain

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