America

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Last of the first African American Naval Officers dies, receives honors


Last of the "Golden 13" Dies:
Family and friends bid farewell to Frank Ellis Sublett Nov. 12 at a memorial service in Chicago, honoring the last member of the first group of African-American men to receive commissions as officers in the U.S. Navy.
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The man who wrote the 1993 book of recollections of the Navy’s Golden 13 gave Sublett’s eulogy. Author Paul Stillwell said that during the writing of the book, “I came to know what real heroes and pioneers these men were.”

In the book’s forward, Gen. Colin Powell points out that, “…from the very beginning, they understood…that history had dealt them a stern obligation. They realized that in their hands rested the chance to help open the blind moral eye that America had turned on the question of race.”
Photo caption:
In February 1944, the Navy commissioned its first African-American officers. This long-hoped-for action represented a major step forward in the status of African-Americans in the Navy and in American society. The twelve commissioned officers, and a warrant officer who received his rank at the same time, came to be known as the "Golden Thirteen". March 17, 1944 photo Top row: John Walter Reagan, Jesse Walter Arbor, Dalton Louis Baugh, Frank Ellis Sublett. Middle row: Graham Edward Martin, Charles Byrd Lear, Phillip George Barnes, Reginald E. Goodwin. Bottom row: James Edward Hair, Samuel Edward Barnes, George Clinton Cooper, William Sylvester White, Dennis Denmark Nelson. U.S. Navy photo.
Offer up a salute to these men, who paved the way so that we take for granted scenes like this:
Lt. Michael Jackson embraces his sons on the pier during the homecoming of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron One One (HS-11) the “Dragon Slayers”. HS-11 returned to Naval Air Station Jacksonville following a scheduled six-month deployment on board USS Enterprise (CVN 65) in support of maritime security operations and the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Susan Cornell
Thank you, Lt Sublett.

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