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BUILDING STRONG as One Team

February 18th, 2011

Booker T. Washington, the foremost black educator of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, once said, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” As we celebrate Black History Month, let us take this opportunity to highlight the struggles, accomplishments, and successes that African-American’s have made to our society and Army.

African-Americans have served with distinction in the American military since the opening salvos of the Revolutionary War. Hundreds of thousands of black troops fought for their freedom during the Civil War, and during World War I approximately 40,000 African-American Engineers helped secure the Allied victory.  In fact, during World War II, 42% of all engineer units were African-American, performing incredible support missions such as building airfields, maintaining roads, repairing bridges, and building hospitals across Europe and the Pacific.

Closer to home, the Army sent African-American engineers to Alaska and Canada to help build the crucial Alaskan Highway, a 1,500-mile-road that would connect Alaska to the United States, enabling our military to channel troops, tanks, and aircraft to Alaska to bolster American defenses against Japanese operations in the Aleutian Islands. 

We’ve come a long way since World War II. As of 2008, African-American Soldiers made up 19.8 percent of the Active Duty Army, 13.3 percent of the National Guard and 22.1 percent of the Army Reserve.

As our Army has matured in how we regard diversity, our Country is still experiencing a shortage of engineers of all backgrounds, particularly among our youth.  Last year, we partnered with a school system in Los Angeles to provide valuable mentoring and leadership to more than 20,000 students.  And just this past September, we contracted with MYI Consulting to help us broaden and diversify our science, technology, engineering and math education and outreach nationwide. 

Our young Americans hold the future of our Nation in their hands, and we owe each of them the opportunity to realize their dreams. That’s just one way we’re BUILDING STRONG.

Van

History, Miscellaneous "neat stuff"

Our Native American Partners

March 10th, 2008

(Originally posted March 10, 2008)

This week, I had the opportunity to speak to the National Congress of American Indians, and it got me thinking about how wonderful it is to team with them, because we can learn so much from them about how to best care for our nation’s resources.
My speech to the National Congress of American Indians

My speech to the National Congress of American Indians

 In fact, we have a terrific Corps program that builds upon both the sustainability ethic and our Environmental Operating Principles, called the Native American Environmental/Cultural Resource Training.  This course, first developed in 2002, has four goals: (1) to develop a better understanding of indigenous cultural, spiritual and environmental beliefs; (2) to share the knowledge and experience of sustainable living; (3) to develop the principles and values necessary to evaluate federal agency actions concerning sustainability and environmental concerns; and (4) to find synergy in the sharing of ideas among federal agencies in the protection and preservation of the land and natural environment.

This course is as an excellent opportunity to learn cultural sensitivity, communication, flexibility, and team-building skills. It focuses on sustainable living.  During the weeklong immersion course, participants live with one of our three tribal partners, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, the Rose Bud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, and the Seminole Indian Reservation in Florida. This training may not be what you immediately think of when you hear the word “sustainability” but it’s an excellent example of how we should embed this concept into our projects and activities just as our tribal teammates do.

More information about the course, as well as a link to a video about the course, can be found on our Tribal Nations Web site.  

Environment/Sustainability, History, Miscellaneous "neat stuff" , , , , , , ,