Fort Lee honors African-Americans in Times of War

FORT LEE, Va. – Community members are invited to the Fort Lee African-American/Black History Month Observance set for Feb. 15, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., at the Lee Theater.

The guest speaker is retired Brig. Gen. Richard B. Dix, who concluded his military career in July with more than 30 years of service as a leader at every level. In his last assignment, Dix commanded the Joint Munitions and Lethality Life Cycle Management Command and Joint Munitions Command, co-located at the Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., and Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.

The observance, also known as National African-American History Month, celebrates achievements by African-Americans and is a time to recognize the central role they have played in United States history. The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the U.S. Few could have imagined African-Americans’ future contributions to music, art and literature that would be recognized by the global community.

The Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute has selected this year’s theme as “African-Americans in Times of War.”

“The Black History Month observance is important for many reasons,” noted Capt. Danielle A. Bledsoe, commander, Alpha Company, 71st Transportation Battalion, who is the lead coordinator for the event. “It shows the progress we have made in the military to ensure every service member has an opportunity to add value to the fight. The military has a very diverse population and this observance allows us to highlight achievements, contributions and challenges of African-American service members who have been important in the transformation of the armed forces.”

The observance also will include historical static displays featuring African-American Medal of Honor recipients, a skit, songs performed by the Virginia State University Gospel Chorale, music by the 392nd Army Band and refreshments. The USO of Hampton Roads and Central Virginia will provide a cake for the gathering. It will be hosted by the Army Logistics University, CASCOM and Fort Lee Equal Opportunity Office.

Media planning to attend the observance must contact Sarah Gauvin at 804-734-6965, 804-400-7273 or sarah.r.gauvin.civ@mail.mil by 10 a.m., Feb. 15 to coordinate an escort to the event.