On the 71st anniversary of President Harry S. Truman’s signing of the Executive Orders 9980 and 9981, mandating equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services and federal government regardless of race, color, religion, or national origin, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson addresses the essential role diversity plays in helping the U.S. Navy remain the world’s most decisive and lethal naval force:
Team, today marks a historic day for our Navy and our military.
71 years ago, on this day in 1948, President Truman signed Executive Orders 9980 and 9981, stating for the first time that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services and federal government regardless of race, color, religion, or national origin.
71 years ago, we took a crucial step in building the strength of our Navy team. We honored, recognized, and codified the contributions of our people of color who fought for our Independence, who fought to keep our union together, who went ashore on D-Day, who fought across the Pacific with us.
71 years ago, we decided that what bound us together were our values as Americans. What mattered was a person’s honor, courage, and commitment to serve our nation — not the color of our skins.
Today, the Navy works hard every day to become that service. That place where you belong, if you believe what America stands for and want to defend it by living a life of integrity, accountability, initiative, and toughness. By serving something bigger than ourselves.
Today, we are stronger because we respect each other’s different ways to contribute to the mission, and never forget what connects and unites us.
Today, we continue to recognize the dignity and contribution of all in our Navy Team. We are ready to put our lives in each other’s’ hands.
By getting the best of us all — together — the U.S. Navy will remain the world’s most decisive and lethal naval force.