Army Surgeon General Discusses Role Models, Women in Military
DoD Cyber Policy Official Describes Keys to Success
Army Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West is the 44th surgeon general of the Army and commanding general, U.S. Army Medical Command...
Army Col. Randy Murray was commissioned in 1990 as an Army Aviation Officer from South Carolina State University...
Army Gen. Dennis L. Via assumed duties as the 18th Commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, Aug. 7, 2012. The command is...
Deirdre J. Sumpter is the technical director for the Army Evaluation Center, responsible for overseeing military programs...
Marine Corps Lt. Gen. David R. Everly of Inglewood, California, enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1989 and graduated...
James H. Todd Jr. has served as the motor transportation chief instructor and manager of the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement...
Shirley D. McNeill-Stephens is the sexual assault response coordinator for Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools...
Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Ronda Porter serves as the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (VMM-161) sergeant major, Marine Aircraft Group 16...
Capt. Darcus is currently the Chief, Diversity Recruiting and Retention Policy, Diversity and Inclusion Division, Deputy Chief of Staff...
Mrs. Ladonna McGrew is the Chief of the Air Force Training Branch. She is responsible for developing, implementing, analyzing and...
Chief Master Sergeant Danny E. Wells is the Air Force Equal Opportunity Career Field Manager (CFM) and Chief, Equal Opportunity...
Army Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West is the 44th surgeon general of the Army and commanding general, U.S. Army Medical Command.
West is a graduate of the U. S. Military Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. She attended the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., where she earned a Doctorate of Medicine.
West completed her internship and residency in family medicine at Martin Army Hospital, Fort Benning, Georgia. During this assignment she deployed with the 197th Infantry Brigade, 24th Infantry Division during Operation Desert Shield and was attached to the 2/69th Armor Battalion during Desert Storm. She then served at Blanchfield Army Hospital, Fort Campbell, Kentucky as a staff family physician and then the officer in charge of the Aviation Medicine Clinic. While there, West participated in a medical mission with the 5th Special Forces Group Airborne.
West completed a second residency in dermatology at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and the University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver, Colorado. She was then assigned as the chief of Dermatology Service at Heidelberg Army Hospital in Germany. In her subsequent assignment, she served as the division surgeon of the 1st Armored Division, Bad Kreuznach, Germany; deploying to the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo as the deputy task force surgeon.
She was then assigned as chief of the Department of Medicine and the Dermatology Service at 121st General Hospital in Seoul, South Korea. West later commanded McDonald Army Community Hospital, Fort Eustis, Virginia. Following command, she served as the deputy commander for Integration at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland where she became the first Army officer to join the leadership team. She then served as the J-3, director of operations for Joint Task Force National Capital Regional Medical. Following this assignment West commanded Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, North Carolina and then went on to serve as the commanding general, Europe Regional Medical Command.
Following command in Europe, West served as the deputy chief of staff, G1/4/6, Office of the Surgeon General, Falls Church, Virginia. She then moved to her most recent assignment as the joint staff surgeon at the Pentagon. As the joint staff surgeon, she served as the chief medical advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and coordinated on all issues related to health services including operational medicine, force health protection and readiness within the military.
West completed the Army Medical Department Officer Basic and Advanced Courses and the Army Command and General Staff College. She is also a graduate of the National War College where she earned a Master of Science in National Security Strategy.
West’s awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the NATO Medal, various campaign medals, the Combat Medical Badge, the Flight Surgeon Badge, the Army Parachutist Badge, the Army Air Assault Badge, and the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge in Gold. She is a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit and the Order of Saint Christopher and is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Family Practice.
Army Col. Randy Murray was commissioned in 1990 as an Army Aviation Officer from South Carolina State University.
Upon completion of the Aviation Officer Basic Course and Initial Entry Rotary Wing training at Fort Rucker, Alabama in 1992, he was assigned to B Company 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, Camp Humphreys, Korea where he served as a section leader and assistant operations officer. Following his assignment in Korea, in 1993, he served for two years in 2nd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas, as an assistant S-3 and B Company 2nd flight platoon leader.
In 1995, following the completion of the Aviation Officers Advanced Course, Murray was assigned to 7th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division Air Assault, Fort Campbell, Kentucky as A Company service platoon leader, Commander Headquarter and Headquarter Company, and the Battalion S-4. Murray's next assignment from 1999 to 2001 was to the Army Training and Doctrine Command at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico as a combat operations analyst. He then attended the Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Murray transitioned to the Army Acquisition Corps in 2001 and has completed assignments as assistant product manager UH-60A Recapitalization, Black Hawk Project Office, and Program Executive Office Aviation in Huntsville, Alabama. From 2004 to 2008 he was assigned to the Aviation Test Directorate, Operational Test Command, Fort Hood, Texas where he served as test officer and chief, Systems Division. During this period, in 2006, he also deployed in support of the Combined Joint Task Force-76 in Bagram, Afghanistan where he served as part of the Army Test and Evaluation Command, Forward Operational Assessment team leader and senior liaison to CJTF-76.
Murray served as Program Manager for the MH-47 Special Operations Heavy Assault Helicopter program from 2008-2011 in the Technology Applications Program Office at Fort Eustis, Virginia. He completed in residence at the University of Texas, Austin, Army Senior Service College Fellowship program during the 2011-2012 academic year. Colonel Murray then served as chief, Capabilities Assessment and Reliability, Availability, Maintainability Division, Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Eustis, Virginia from 2012-2014. He is currently serving as senior commander at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.
Murray’s military education and training include Aviation Officer Basic Course, Initial Entry Rotary Wing Training, Aviation Officer Advanced Course, Operations Research/Systems Analysis Military Applications Course, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Program Managers Course, and Senior Service College Fellowship Program.
His awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, 5 Oak Leaf Cluster; Army Commendation Medal, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster; Army Achievement Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korea Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism, Afghanistan Campaign Medal; NATO Medal; the Air Assault Badge; the Parachutists Badge and the Army Aviator Badge.
Murray's civilian education includes an Associate's degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology, Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College; a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology, South Carolina State University; and a Master's degree in Industrial Engineering, New Mexico State University.
Colonel Randy Murray is married to the former Deborah James of Cordova, South Carolina. They have two sons, Jonathon and Michael.
Army Gen. Dennis L. Via assumed duties as the 18th Commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, Aug. 7, 2012. The command is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness to ensure dominant land force capability for the U.S. Warfighter and our allies.
General Via's prior assignment was as AMC's deputy commanding general. He deployed to Southwest Asia in October 2011 as the commander, AMC Responsible Reset Task Force with the mission of leading the strategic integration of the Materiel Enterprise for the Retrograde of equipment and materiel out of Iraq at the conclusion of Operation New Dawn. Prior to that, he served as director for Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems, J-6, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.
A native of Martinsville, Va., Via was commissioned on May 18, 1980, in the Signal Corps after graduating as a distinguished military graduate from Virginia State University. He holds a Master's Degree from Boston University, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, class of 1991, and the U.S. Army War College, class of 1999. Via is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Via's command assignments include the 82nd Signal Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; 3rd Signal Brigade, III Armored Corps, Fort Hood, Texas; 5th Signal Command, U.S. Army Europe and 7th Army, Mannheim, Germany; and the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command and Fort Monmouth, Fort Monmouth, N.J. His key staff assignments include aide-de-camp to the chief of staff, Allied Forces Southern Europe, Naples, Italy; operations officer, J-6, Armed Forces Inaugural Committee, Washington, D.C.; Division Chief, Joint Requirements Oversight Council, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.; principal director for operations, Defense Information Systems Agency/deputy commander, Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations, U.S. Strategic Command, Arlington, Va.
His awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal; the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; Defense Superior Service Medal; Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster; Defense Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters; Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; Joint Service Achievement Medal; and the Army Achievement Medal. He is authorized to wear the Master Parachutist Badge, Joint Staff Identification Badge, and Army Staff Identification Badge. Via holds the distinction of being the only Signal Corps officer in U.S. Army history to be promoted to 4-star general. Via is married to the former Linda A. Brown of Warsaw, Va. They have two sons, Brian and Bradley.
Technical Director, Army Evaluation Center
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland
Deirdre J. Sumpter is the technical director for the Army Evaluation Center, responsible for overseeing military programs as part of the acquisition life cycle to keep up with the program, capability and technology changes that may occur along the way and to ensure that decision makers are equipped with the latest information to make an informed decision. She also reviews test and evaluation strategies and reports of all evaluated systems.
Sumpter earned her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics with a minor in Psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She holds a Master of Science in Engineering with a concentration in Stochastic Modeling obtained from George Washington University. She also holds a Master of Science in Management and Leadership earned from Webster University.
She is a graduate of the 2010 inaugural Senior Service College Fellowship at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; Harford Leadership Academy, Harford Community College, Bel Air, Maryland; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Women’s Executive Leadership one-year program.
Prior to her current position, Sumpter was the chief, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Division of the Soldier and Support Systems Evaluation Directorate. She was responsible for Commands program management of CBRN detection and identification, Individual and Collective Protection, decontamination and integration of detection capabilities into reconnaissance platforms. Prior to that assignment, Sumpter served as the technical director of the Fires Evaluation Directorate and the Technical Director of the Intelligence Evaluation Directorate. Sumpter previously worked at the Army Developmental Test Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, as the chief of the DTC’s Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors Division responsible for the Commands program management of C3, Advanced Communications, Soldier Electronics and IEW&S commodity areas and as an operations research analyst. She has also worked at the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity, APG, MD as an operations research analyst. Sumpter’s primary responsibility was to perform systems analysis on weapon systems. She served as the team leader for AMSAA’s Level of Repair Analysis and Initial Provisioning Team. Sumpter has completed developmental assignments with assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, Army Materiel Command, and program manager for Chemical Demilitarization and participated in Army exercises in Korea, Germany and Canada.
Sumpter received the Aberdeen Proving Ground Federal Women’s Program 1st Runner-up recognition for Outstanding Women of the Year, Federal Executive Board, Community Service Award, and was a recipient of the Black Engineer of the Year Award. She was nominated and selected for the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara, the first African American female Defense Department civilian to receive this prestigious medal on Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Marine Corps Lt. Gen. David R. Everly of Inglewood, California, enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1989 and graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. After graduating from The Basic School and the Army Field Artillery Officer Basic Course with honors, he reported for duty as a forward observer with 3rd Battalion, 10th Marines, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
While assigned to 10th Marines, Everly served as forward observer, guns platoon commander, Headquarters platoon commander, Assistant Executive Officer, fire direction officer, artillery liaison officer and executive officer.
In late 1998, Everly reported to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit for duty as the target information officer. Everly deployed aboard the USS Kearsarge to the Mediterranean Sea. He participated in Operations Noble Anvil and Shining Hope in Albania, combat operations during Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo and Operation Avid Response, providing humanitarian assistance to the people of western Turkey. Upon returning from the Mediterranean Sea in the fall of 1999, Everly received orders to The Basic School, Quantico, Virginia.
While assigned to The Basic School, Everly served as the primary fire support instructor, Staff Platoon Commander for Companies D, F, and B, and as the officer-in-charge of the Naval Academy Leatherneck Program. After completing his TBS tour, Everly reported to the Army Field Artillery School in Fort Sill, Oklahoma for the Field Artillery Captains Career Course.
In 2002, Everly graduated from the Army FACCC with honors and reported to 1st Battalion, 12th Marines in Kaneohe, Hawaii. He served as assistant operations officer, operations officer and battery commander. As the commanding officer, Battery B, Everly deployed his unit to Operation Enduring Freedom Philippines and Thailand in support of security and counter-insurgency operations and Okinawa, Japan, in support of the Unit Deployment Program assigned to 3d Battalion, 12th Marines.
In 2005, Everly deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom in support of U.S. Central Command. Everly was assigned to the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force for Former Regime Elements as the deputy J3 operations officer. On completing his tour in Iraq, Everly was assigned to the Expeditionary Warfare School in Quantico, Virginia for duty as a faculty advisor and expeditionary operations instructor.
In July 2008, Everly reported to 11th Marine Regiment and assumed duties as the executive officer, 1st Battalion, 11th Marines. He deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and later assumed the duties of operations officer, 11th Marine Regiment. In the summer of 2011, Everly assumed command of 5th Battalion, 11th Marines. In the summer of 2013, He attended the National Defense University. After completing Top Level School, Everly was assigned to the Operations Directorate, J3, Current Operations, J33, Joint Staff. Everly was subsequently selected to serve as the junior military assistant to the secretary of defense.
Everly’s civilian and military education include: Army Field Artillery Career Course, Marine Corps Command and Staff Seminar Program, Master of Science in Management and Leadership from Webster University, Master of Arts in Psychology from Oklahoma State University and Master of Arts in Strategic Security Studies from the National Defense University.
Everly’s personal awards and decorations include: Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation with Gold Star, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal with Bronze Star and the Combat Action Ribbon.
He is married to the former NaTasha McEachin of Fayetteville, North Carolina and has two children, Aubrey and Elijah.
James H. Todd Jr. has served as the motor transportation chief instructor and manager of the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement and High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle Licensing Program for Marine Corps Communication Electronics Schools for the past nine years. He develops, manages and assists in the daily operations of motor transportation support for Marine Corps Communication Electronics Schools. These programs provide government tactical licensing for permanent personnel and the military occupational specialty schools for Low Altitude Anti-Air Defense, and in the future, microwave communication operator, and ground mobile forces satellite communication operator.
Todd, a retired Marine Corps Master Sgt., served in various capacities throughout his military and civilian career. In 1982, he entered the Marine Corps and completed basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina. He attended primary Military Occupational Specialty at Twenty-nine Palms, California. His assignments also include Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, Camp Pendleton, where he served as radio operator; Camp Foster Okinawa, Japan, where he served as forward observer radio operator; radio supervisor, Marine Wing Support Squadron 271, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina where he served as a SATCOM team leader during Operation Desert Shield, Desert Storm in this tour of duty. He also served as canvasing recruiter and SNCOIC; Marine Corps Recruit Depot, 8th District, Recruiting Station Houston, Texas. Todd was next assigned to 7th Communication Battalion, Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan where he served as radio chief. Todd was then assigned to 8th Communication Battalion Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan as microwave communication chief, then to 7th Communication Battalion, Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan as microwave communication chief during the first major operation in Austria. Todd returned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 271, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point as communication chief during operation Iraqi Freedom while assigned to MWSS-271. He was assigned to Marine Corps Communication Electronics School at Twenty-nine Palms where his assignments included SNCOIC for Bravo Company Transmission Training Section and Switching Training Section. Todd retired from the Marine Corps in April 2007 and currently serves as a Defense Department employee.
Todd’s military education includes the NCO Leadership Course, Sergeant’s Course, SNCO Course, SNCO Advance Course and Leadership Team Awareness Course. He currently attends DeVry University in pursuit of a Bachelor of Science in networking management.
Todd’s awards include: the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal -3rd award, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and numerous civilian awards.
Todd is a native of Birmingham, Alabama and has a son, James.
Shirley D. McNeill-Stephens is the sexual assault response coordinator for Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. McNeill-Stephens is responsible for sexual assault awareness, prevention and response preparedness throughout a Marine Corps training command which trains over 8,000 Marines annually. Her dedication to duty and resourcefulness were responsible for MCCSSS winning the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention Innovation Unit Award in 2014. McNeill-Stephens was awarded the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention Innovation Individual Award for 2015.
McNeill-Stephens was born in Trenton, New Jersey and graduated from Ewing High School in 1976. She was employed as an administrative assistant at Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey from 1977 to 1991, and attended The College of New Jersey where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 1992. She later received a Master of Arts in Human Resource Management from Webster University in 2010.
McNeill-Stephens’ work with non-profit organizations as a program developer and manager began in February 1991, as the crisis intervention counselor for victims of rape and sexual assault for the Mercer County Rape Crisis Program, Trenton. For over five years she provided crisis intervention; referral and follow-up services; facilitated community prevention and education workshops; and developed campaigns on prevention and risk reduction. In February 1993, she worked with Head Start, Inc. in Trenton, for the Family Transition Program and assisted family members, teachers and public school personnel manage the transition of Head Start children entering the public school system. This program provided needs assessment, resource referrals, life skills, safety awareness and specialized events to engage families in their children’s development. In March 1994, McNeill-Stephens worked for Greater Trenton Behavioral HealthCare in Trenton as an adolescent and adult case manager. In this position she utilized her familiarity with the community to provide assessment, referral and follow-up services.
In August 1996, McNeill-Stephens and her family moved to Marietta, Georgia. She continued her work with non-profit organizations at the Samaritan House of Atlanta, Inc. For over nine years she served as program director of Employment Readiness, a career development and employment readiness program servicing homeless men and women. The program resulted in approximately $10 million in earned wages annually by participants finding full-time permanent employment. At Samaritan House she recruited and supervised long-term national and international full-time volunteer staff and managed over 100 community volunteers annually.
In June 2005, McNeill-Stephens returned to her native New Jersey and began her work with the federal government as the installation sexual assault response coordinator for Army Installation Mobilization and Deployment Readiness at Fort Dix where she spearheaded the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program. In January 2007, she made a lateral move returning to Georgia as the sexual assault response coordinator for U.S. Army Installation Management Command 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart - Hunter Army Airfield. In March 2009, she shifted to the Army Substance Abuse Program as a risk reduction program coordinator. McNeill-Stephens consolidated and analyzed installation risk data for 23 behavioral areas. She worked with mission commanders on identified high risk units to determine appropriate prevention and intervention strategies in support of the unit’s Army Force Generation Cycle.
In February 2013, McNeill-Stephens was selected to the current position. She resides in Jacksonville, North Carolina and has two children and one grandson.
Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Ronda Porter serves as the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (VMM-161) sergeant major, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3d Marine Air Wing, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, CA.
In October 1995, she reported to Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island for training with Fourth Recruit Training Battalion. Then a private, Porter reported to Disbursing School, Camp Johnson, North Carolina. In January 1996, Porter reported to 1st Marine Logistics Group in Camp Pendleton, California, where she worked as a pay and separations clerk. During that time she was promoted to the rank of sergeant. In December 1999, Porter graduated from Drill Instructor (DI) School and was assigned to Oscar Company, Recruit Training Regiment, Parris Island, South Carolina. She completed her tour as a DI for two cycles, an experienced DI for two cycles, a senior DI for two cycles and as a series gunnery sergeant for two cycles. During her tour she was meritoriously promoted to the rank of staff sergeant. In May 2004, Porter was assigned to 2nd Marine Logistics Group as a Company Gunnery Sergeant for Headquarters and Support Company. Porter deployed in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom to Al Taqaddum, Iraq, from February 2005 through February 2006. In April 2006, Porter received orders to Quantico, Virginia, as the travel staff non-commissioned officer in charge. Soon after checking into disbursing, she went to serve as an augment at Officer Candidate School. After the summer cycle was complete she was reassigned as permanent personnel where she worked as a sergeant instructor, platoon sergeant, company gunnery sergeant, and company first sergeant for a total of eight cycles. In January 2011, 1st Sgt. Porter was assigned to Communications Company, Combat Logistics Regiment-17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, Camp Pendleton, California. She was then assigned to Headquarters Company, Combat Logistics Battalion-1, 1st Marine Logistics Group where she deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan. Upon return she was assigned to Support Company, Combat Logistics Battalion-1. In February 2013, Porter was assigned to Instructional Training Company, Support Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment MCRD San Diego for duty as a Company First Sergeant. In June of 2014 she assumed the position as the support battalion sergeant major. In September of 2015, she was promoted to her current rank of sergeant major.
Porter’s military education and training includes the Basic and Advance Finance Course, Corporal’s Course, Sergeant’s Course, SNCO Career Course, SNCO Advance Course, E-8 Seminar, First Sergeants Course, Sergeants Major Course, Senior Enlisted Legal Course, Senior Enlisted Joint PME, USMC Senior Enlisted PME, Navy Senior Enlisted Academy, Warfighting Skills Program, Amphibious Warfare School, Martial Arts Instructor Course, and Drill Instructor School. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Park University, and a master’s degree in human relations from Oklahoma University.
Porter’s personal awards include Meritorious Service Medal with one gold star, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with one gold star and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
Porter was born and raised in Oklahoma. She also is a certified personal trainer.
Captain Darcus is currently the Chief, Diversity Recruiting and Retention Policy, Diversity and Inclusion Division, Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower and Personnel, Headquarters United States Air Force, Washington, D.C. She is responsible for leading the diversity and inclusion transformation for the Air Force's 632,000 active duty, Air National Guard, Reserve and civilian personnel. This includes creating sustainable change while integrating diversity and inclusion-focused leadership with operational, functional and talent management strategies and processes to help the Air Force attract, recruit, develop and retain top talent.
Captain Darcus grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia and graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in English in May 2006. Since her commissioning, Captain Darcus continued to gain top-tier education. Captain Darcus is not only a Certified Diversity Professional, but is also certified in adult education and has served multiple assignments as an Air Force Professional Military Education instructor.
Previous to assuming her current position, Captain Darcus was the Deputy Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. She was responsible for providing sexual assault victim care, community outreach and sexual assault prevention training for over 7,000 personnel.
Captain Darucs has completed two deployments to locations in Southeast Asia. In one of her deployments, she served in a joint environment in Afghanistan as the J1.
Captain Darcus has been recognized as one of the premier leaders and performers in the Air Force. Her prestigious honors include Squadron Officer College Flight Commander of the Year, Aerospace Basic Cource Exceptional Perfomer, and Headquarters Directorate Company Grade Officer of the Year.
Her major awards include the Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
Mrs. Ladonna McGrew is the Chief of the Air Force Training Branch. She is responsible for developing, implementing, analyzing and evaluating policies, programs, plans, and procedures for the effective management and oversight of officer, enlisted and civilian Human Capital Development for 660,000 total force Airmen. Responsibilities encompass Basic Military Training (BMT), all initial and follow-on skills training which lead to an award of an Air Force specialty, upgrade training (on-the-job training), specialized skills training (e.g. military and civilian expeditionary skills), ancillary and continuation training. Mrs. McGrew also serves as the Air Staff focal point to the Department of Defense, Joint Staff, Air Reserve Component, and sister-services for all training policy related issues.
Mrs. McGrew was born in Canton, Mississippi. She entered the Air Force in July 1993 as a Palace Acquire Intern (PAC). Since then, she has served in numerous education and training, leadership and staff positions. Prior to her current assignment, Mrs. McGrew attended Air Command and Staff College.
Chief Master Sergeant Danny E. Wells is the Air Force Equal Opportunity Career Field Manager (CFM) and Chief, Equal Opportunity (EO) Operations, Headquarters Air Force Personnel Center, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. As the CFM, he provides functional management, oversight and guidance for equal opportunity development, assignments, deployments, manning, and training. In his capacity as Chief, EO Operations, he provides oversight and guidance to 9 MAJCOM EO Functional Managers, 2 DRUs, and 186 field offices comprised of 332 civilian and military directors and technicians. He develops AF EO policies and implements Air Force level objectives, goals, and management initiatives that integrate Culture of Airmen and diversity tenets into daily Air Force operations.
Chief Master Sergeant Wells grew up in McComb, Mississippi and graduated from South Pike High School in 1988. He entered the Air Force in May 1989 and has since served in numerous positions in the Transportation and EO career field. Chief Wells has been stationed in Delaware, Germany, Georgia, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Guam and North Carolina. Prior to assuming his current position, he served as Strategic Advisor, United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), Ramstein AB, Germany.
"As we mark the 40th year of National African American History Month, let us reflect on the sacrifices and contributions made by generations of African Americans, and let us resolve to continue our march toward a day when every person knows the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
President Barack Obama
National African American History Month, also known as Black History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time to recognize the central role they have played in the history of the United States. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History has selected the theme: Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories.
In 1930, Thurgood Marshall was denied admission to the University of Maryland Law School because he was black. After being accepted to Howard University Law School, he began to develop an impressive track record of winning court cases against states that aimed to continue practicing discrimination. He later became the first African American to sit on the Supreme Court, where he served from 1967 to 1991.
Fannie Lou Hamer was a civil rights activist whose depiction of her own suffering focused attention on the plight of Blacks throughout the South. In 1964, she worked with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, organizing the Freedom Summer voter registration drive in Mississippi. Hamer's tombstone is inscribed with her famous quote, "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."
Known as the "Father of Black History," Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the celebration he called "Negro History Week" in 1926. He selected the second week of February because it fell between the birthdays of the famed orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, the celebration expanded to include the entire month.
On May 4, 1961, a group of 13 civil rights activists began the Freedom Rides, a series of bus trips through the American South to protest segregation in interstate bus terminals. The Freedom Riders departed from Washington, D.C. and attempted to integrate facilities at bus terminals along the way into the South. Before leaving for the trip, the young adults wrote their wills and said goodbye to loved ones. The group encountered tremendous violence from white protestors along the route, but were able to draw international attention to their cause.
On March 7, 1965, a group of demonstrators began a march from Selma to Montgomery in support of voting rights. They were stopped by state troopers and the Dallas County Sheriff's Department at the Edmund Winston Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The lawmen attacked the peaceful demonstrators, and the day became known as "Bloody Sunday." The march was the catalyst for the passage of the Voting Rights Act, passed by President Lyndon B. Johnson less than five months later.
Founded in 1738, Fort Mose Settlement was the first community of free ex-slaves. It was located at a Spanish colony in Florida called Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose. Before the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves could escape to the colony and get their freedom when they declared their allegiance to the King of Spain and joined the Catholic Church.
The largest plantation house in Florida is the Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island. The main house was built by slaves in 1738, and was sold to Zephaniah Kingsley and his African wife, Anta Madgigine Jai in 1815. When the U.S. gained possession of Florida in 1821, Kingsley fought against laws that greatly prohibited the activities of slaves and free Blacks, and even wrote a major treatise on the subject. Even though he owned slaves, he was a strong believer in treating people according to their abilities, not their color.
Mary McLeod Bethune was the founder of the Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls in Daytona Beach, Florida. It formally opened in October of 1904 with five students enrolled. In 1929, Bethune merged with the Cookman Institute and became co-ed. As of 2015, the Bethune-Cookman University has grown to enroll upwards of 4,000 undergraduate students each year.
Jean Baptiste Point du Sable is known as the first settler of present-day Chicago. As merchant and farmer of the region, Point du Sable established both a prosperous farm in an area otherwise unsettled and an affable relationship with local Native American tribes. After the end of the Revolutionary War, his farm prospered greatly. Travelers as far as the East coast knew of the Point du Sable farm as one of the only sources of farmed produce in the area.
When the U.S. military was segregated, there were myths that Black men were not successful fighters. The Tuskegee Airmen proved this misled theory wrong when they flew over 200 combat missions in World War II and lost none of their own to enemy fire. Their second-to-none fighting record was instrumental in burying myths about correlations concerning race and combat skills and paved the way to full integration of the U.S. military.
The Underground Railroad was a loosely organized network of connections for slaves escaping to the North. Homes, or "stations" would provide food and shelter for escaping slaves, and the leader of the group, or "conductor", ensured that they moved safely from station to station. It is estimated that close to 100,000 fugitive slaves used the railroad between 1810 and 1860, the majority of whom escaped from Kentucky, Virginia and Maryland.
"On April 5, 1945, the 477th Bombardment Group, the first Black bomber group, attempted to integrate an all-White officers’ club at Freeman Field, Indiana. As the officers attempted to enter, they were arrested. By the end of the evening, 103 officers had been arrested. The trials drew national attention. The Freeman Field Mutiny is regarded as an important step toward the integration of the U.S. military."
Little Rock Central High School is widely regarded as the first Southern school to be integrated, but Clinton High School in Tennessee was integrated a year earlier. In 1957, three years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, Bobby Cain graduated from Clinton High as the first Black graduate of an integrated high school in the South. In 1958, Gail Ann Epps became the first Black female to graduate. Later theat year, Clinton High was bombed and the school was destroyed.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott began when Rosa Parks, a Black protestor, refused to give up her seat for a White man on the bus. Parks was a politically active member of the NAACP long before her actions on that day, and came from a family of activists. On that day in 1955, a simple act of the "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement" echoed throughout the country.
When he escaped slavery in 1838, Frederick Douglass landed in New York and began to astonish America with his intellect and rhetorical skills. He used his knowledge and talents to change the way Americans thought about race, slavery, and American Democracy. Even after his death over a century ago, his legacy endures. Every day, people are inspired by his resilient advocacy for civil rights and political awareness.
Seneca Village was a settlement in central Manhattan, and comprised a small part of present-day Central Park. It is thought to have been Manhattan’s first stable community of African American property owners from 1825 to the mid-1850s.
Mulberry Row was the main road on Monticello -Thomas Jefferson’s 5,000-acre plantation in Virginia. A once-bustling hub of homes, workshops and sheds, the Row was where all walks of life –enslaved people, indentured servants, and free men and women- came together and worked as farmers, weavers, carpenters, gardeners, and blacksmiths. The plantation suggests the intricacy of labor at such a large, production-focused establishment.
Ralph Abernathy was the pastor of Montgomery’s First Baptist Church and one of the most prolific Freedom Riders of the movement. Abernathy, a good friend of Martin Luther King, Jr. helped to lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott and later took over as the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLS) after King’s assassination.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the nation's largest and strongest civil rights organization. Founded in 1909 in New York City by a group of Black and White citizens committed to social justice, the NAACP's principal objective is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of minority group citizens of United States and eliminate racial prejudice.
President Abraham Lincoln considered the Emancipation Proclamation to be the most important aspect of his legacy. "I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper," he declared. "If my name ever goes into history it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it."
Since 1976, every U.S. President has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.
On August 28, 1963, more than 200,000 Americans gathered in Washington, D.C., for a political rally known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Organized by civil rights and religious groups, the event was designed to shed light on the political and social challenges African Americans faced across the United States. The march became a key moment in the struggle for civil rights in the U.S., and it culminated in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964—which ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin—is considered one of the greatest legislative achievements of the civil rights movement. First proposed by President John F. Kennedy, it survived strong opposition from Southern members of Congress and was signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson.
On March 6, 1960, President Kennedy issued Executive Order 10925, prohibiting discrimination in federal government hiring on the basis of race, religion, or national origin and establishing the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity, the EEOC. They were directed to scrutinize and study employment practices of the U.S. government and recommend additional affirmative steps for executive departments and agencies.
In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling in the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. The Court's unanimous decision overturned the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which allowed for "separate but equal" public facilities. Declaring that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal," the Brown v. Board decision helped break state-sponsored segregation and provided an intricate piece to the American Civil Rights Movement.
"Charles Lenox Remond was one of the earliest recorded Black abolitionist speakers. At 18, he traveled from his home in Massachusetts to London for the World Anti-Slavery Convention and remained abroad for many years to lecture on abolition in universities across the United Kingdom. During the Civil War, he recruited blacks and helped to staff the first two all-Black units from Massachusetts."
Little Rock High School was the scene of one of the most tumultuous tests of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Three years after the trial, a federal court ordered Little Rock to comply and desegregate the school. Nine students –known as the "Little Rock Nine"- were met with mobs of angry white protesters swarming front steps. This violence and noncooperation from the community forced the Nine to withdraw from the school for their own protection. Two years later, four of the Nine returned to complete their high school educations.
Joseph Cinque and 53 others were abducted from their home in Sierra Leone by Portuguese slave traders. Aboard the schooner Amistad, Cinque led a successful revolt against the crew. On March 9, 1841, the U.S. Supreme Court freed the 35 Africans who survived the ordeal and cleared their passage back to their home on the West African coast.
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