Desperate need for many more black Officers in the Military......
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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Platinum Member Mongoose's Avatar
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    Jan 2009

    Desperate need for many more black Officers in the Military......

    WASHINGTON — A photograph of President Donald Trump and his top four-star generals and admirals, tweeted in October by Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, was meant as a thank-you to the commander in chief. But it angered a lot of others, and not just those who erupted on Twitter.
    “You would have thought it was 1950,” said Lt. Col. Walter J. Smiley Jr., who is African American and fought in Iraq and Afghanistan before retiring last year after 25 years in the Army. Dana Pittard, a retired major general, also African American, was equally frustrated. “It’s America’s military,” he said. “Why doesn’t this photo look like America?”
    Yet the picture of the president surrounded by a sea of white faces in full military dress is an accurate portrait of the top commanders who lead an otherwise diverse institution.
    Some 43% of the 1.3 million men and women on active duty in the United States military are people of color. But the people making crucial decisions, such as how to respond to the coronavirus crisis and how many troops to send to Afghanistan or Syria, are almost entirely white and male.
    Of the 41 most senior commanders in the military — those with four-star rank in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard — only two are black: Gen. Michael X. Garrett, who leads the Army’s Forces Command, and Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr, the commander of Pacific Air Forces.
    Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, whose father is second-generation Japanese American, leads the U.S. Cyber Command. The Army has sometimes counted Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, the head of Africa Command and the son of a German mother and an Afghan father, as a minority commander. There is only one woman in the group: Gen. Maryanne Miller, the chief of the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, who is white.
    The elite service academies that feed the officer class — the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado — have increased their enrollment of minority recruits in recent years but remain largely white. The African Americans who do become officers are often steered to specialize in logistics and transportation rather than the marquee combat arms specialties that lead to the top jobs.
    Interviews with more than three dozen white, black and Hispanic service members and officers depict an entrenched and clubby system with near cement ceilings for minority groups.
    The Trump presidency, minority service members said, has only magnified the sense of isolation they have long felt in a stratified system. “You had the feeling with Obama, that people were looking up” and trying to impress the country’s first black president, Pittard said, adding that similar sentiments existed under Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. That pressure, he said, has disappeared with Trump. “There’s not somebody pushing it,” he said.
    Racism within the military appears to be on the rise. A survey last fall of 1,630 active-duty subscribers to Military Times found that 36% of those polled and 53% of minority service members said they had seen examples of white nationalism or ideologically driven racism among their fellow troops. The number was up significantly from the same poll conducted in 2018, when 22% of all respondents reported personally witnessing white nationalism.
    In recent years, the Pentagon has faced intensifying criticism for a series of racist episodes. A lawsuit filed in federal court in February by a Navy fighter pilot accused airmen and officers at the Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach of seeking to cover up institutional racism directed against African American aviators, which he said resulted in their wrongful removal from pilot training programs. The pilot’s lawyer said in an interview that black airmen at the base were, among other things, given racially derogatory call signs like “8-Ball” and referred to as “eggplants” in group chats on social media.
    “The absence of minorities at the top means the absence of a voice to point to things that should have been addressed a long time ago,” said Brandy Baxter, an Air Force veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is African American. “And from a human standpoint, this absence sends another message that here’s another space where we are not accepted.”
    A Lack of Mentors
    If you enter the Pentagon at the Potomac River entrance, where foreign dignitaries are greeted by the defense secretary, you will walk down the E Ring hall with its portraits of the men who have led the U.S. armed forces for the last century. To nearly a one, the African American service members interviewed for this article said they paused when they walked by the painting of Gen. Colin L. Powell, the first and only black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His portrait, they said, came as both a relief — that he was there at all — and a reminder that no one else with their skin color had made it.
    “I walk their halls, and nobody on their wall looks like me,” said Lila Holley, a former Army chief warrant officer. Until she gets to the portrait. “I exhale when I see Colin Powell,” she said.
    Officially, the military insists that generals and admirals are chosen by strict criteria assessed by service selection boards. But in practice, almost all of those interviewed said that finding a mentor remained crucial.
    The top Army officers — Gen. James C. McConville, the Army chief of staff; Gen. John M. Murray, the head of the Army’s Futures Command; and Gen. Paul E. Funk II, the head of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command — are all white and were all mentored by the same man, Gen. Peter Chiarelli, a former Army vice chief of staff.
    “The Army in particular is a pretty bubba-oriented system,” said Derek Chollet, a former assistant secretary of defense. “It’s about who’s going to take care of you. So if you don’t have senior leadership that makes fixing this a priority, it’s very hard to see it happening.”
    Generals of Logistics
    Equally crucial is where you come from. Graduates of West Point, Annapolis and Colorado Springs are typically destined for military leadership, but graduates of historically black colleges and universities are not.
    Graduates from black colleges who had successful military careers typically specialized in logistics and transportation, like moving supplies or driving trucks, and not in combat arms specialties like infantry or artillery. Logistics and transportation are an outgrowth of the segregated military, when many black troops were quartermasters and truck drivers. But it is the combat postings, particularly during the nearly two decades of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, that lead to the top leadership jobs.
    The history of some of the military’s most storied combat units — the soldiers who landed on Omaha Beach or the Marines who stormed Iwo Jima — has largely excised the black and brown troops who fought alongside the white men. This casting of military history heightens the sense among African Americans, they say, that they are still not welcome in such units.
    When news broke in October 2017 that one black service member was among three Green Berets and a mechanic killed in an ambush in Niger, several African American colonels who were interviewed for this article said that they knew immediately that the black service member, Sgt. La David T. Johnson, was the mechanic.
    But even though Johnson did not have the Green Beret patch on his sleeve, he died firing his weapon in the scrub of remote Niger, surrounded by advancing militants.
    “Something else is happening,” said Reuben E. Brigety, a former Navy submarine officer who is now the dean of George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. “Unless you presume that ethnic minorities are just not as good as their white male counterparts, there has to be another reason.”
    The Other Reason
    In the Marines, the term for a black Marine is “nonswimmer.” In the Army Rangers, it is “night ranger.”
    “I heard the name ‘night ranger,’ ” said Pittard, who did his Ranger training in the north Georgia mountains. “‘Come here, Night Ranger.’ That doesn’t make you feel very welcome.”
    The “nonswimmer” name, meant as a slur, refers to the ages-old trope that black people cannot swim. Like any trope, there is just enough of a glimmer of truth to make it hard to shake. Pittard, who made it as far as the commander of land forces for the American-led coalition battling the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria in 2014, said that when he entered West Point in 1977, fewer than 10 out of 100 black freshmen knew how to swim. To graduate, they had to learn.
    “We graduated 42” black cadets, Pittard recalled. “So we lost 58.”
    After graduating from Prairie View A&M University in 1993, Smiley, one of the African American retired officers offended by Esper’s photograph on Twitter, went into artillery, a combat arms specialty. Over 25 years, he had multiple tours in South Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan. When an African American battalion commander called him into his office and told him to lose his mustache because there were no senior Army leaders with mustaches, he quickly shaved.
    Smiley thought he was on the right track until 2011, when “the story changes,” he said in an interview. His evaluation from his time in Afghanistan, in 2009 and 2010, had been stellar, he said. But after returning home, he received a second evaluation that was mediocre. And that was it for his chances of being promoted from lieutenant colonel to full colonel, let alone to general. In the Army’s promotion system, one mediocre evaluation is enough to kill your chance for advancement.
    A one-star general later expressed surprise that Smiley was still just a lieutenant colonel and called him into his office. “You’ve got a great file except for this one evaluation,” he told Smiley. “What did you do?”
    Smiley did not know. Almost a decade later, he still does not know, although he said he thought race played a part. He left the Army in September as a lieutenant colonel. “I would have stayed if I had made 06,” he said, in reference to the rank of colonel.
    NASA, but Not the Marines
    The U.S. Marine Corps has never in its 244 years had a four-star general who was not a white male.
    Consider the case of Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., who managed to break barriers on land and in the air. In 1963, after South Carolina’s congressional delegation turned him down for an appointment to the Naval Academy, Bolden wrote a letter to President Lyndon B. Johnson. A recruiter came to his house a few weeks later, and he got into Annapolis.
    Bolden flew more than 100 sorties over Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia as a Marine fighter pilot during the Vietnam War. He went on to NASA to pilot two space shuttles, the Columbia in 1986 and the Discovery in 1990, and command two more, the Atlantis in 1992 and the Discovery in 1994.
    Although he made it to the rank of major general, he never got that third or fourth star, and he left the Marines in 2004. Five years later, President Barack Obama appointed him the head of NASA.
    Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Bailey could not do it either. The first black man to command the First Marine Division, from 2011 to 2013, Bailey retired in 2017 after 40 years in the Marines, one star short of breaking the four-star barrier.
    “The Marine Corps actually has given this a great deal of thought because we have struggled,” said Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the Marine who is head of U.S. Central Command. “We’ve struggled to do it with minorities. We’ve struggled to do it with women. It is a continuing problem for us.”

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  2. #2
    oh, boo-hoo....can these people find anything else to complain about????? The Corps is not "overstaffed" with 4-stars... until 1966 or 67, the ONLY 4 star in the Corps was the commandant, period... Lew Walt became the first 4 star in the Corps that was NOT the Commandant...other services have their own criteria, but be that as it may, there are certainly no shortage of "senior enlisted of color"... and the simple truth is that whilr the "higher-higher" decides the destination, it is those "senior enlisted" that "make it happen".....
    and since they want to complain about the president being surrounded by "white generals" or "white advisors", why did they not complain about Obozo being surrounded only by blacks when he was in office???

    Last edited by oldtop; 05-27-20 at 10:28 AM.
    Si vis pacem, para bellum

  3. #3
    When I was in their was only one 4 star in the USMC

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Platinum Member Mongoose's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    We went through this before, under Bush. I remember Colin Powell saying that the blacks in the military made up 13% of the enlisted. He also said that black military officers made up 13% of the military. He said the margin was on equal grounds in relationship with the population.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Platinum Member USMC 2571's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    There is never any "need" for anyone who is of a particular race or creed or whatever-----the OPPORTUNITY is there, the need is never there. We can have thirty thousand police officers, every one of whom is white, if there are no qualified blacks, and that is fine, because the opportunity is there for qualified blacks. So this is nonsense, this "need" for races to be represented. This focus and obsession with race is worse now than it was during slavery times. That is all people think about nowadays is race, inclusivity, etc---everything except how to fix a broken civilization.

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