New publication highlights African-American Marines
By Staff Sgt. Marc Ayalin
| Marine Corps Recruiting Command | June 23, 2004
WASHINGTON, D.C. --
U. S. Marines and prominent members of the African-American community gathered June 23, for a reception held for the release of the 2004 African-American Yearbook at the Library of Congress.
The annual publication, now in its fourth year of distribution, provides a wide range of resource information for and about the African-American community and also highlights the achievements of America’s prominent African-Americans.
This year’s reception attracted more than 200 representatives from various government agencies, private sector businesses and members of the U. S. Armed Services and Congress. The keynote speaker for the evening was Brigadier General Cornell A. Wilson Jr., commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force Augmentation Command Element (II MACE), Camp Lejeune, NC. During his speech, Wilson enlightened guests by explaining the impact the yearbook has on society and its relevance to the Marine Corps.
“This great resource is not only a valuable networking tool for all of us, it also represents an important effort in building a more diverse and representative society that recognizes the significant achievements of African-Americans,” Wilson said. “I am proud to tell you that in our enlisted ranks, African-Americans are over represented compared to numbers in the general population.”
According to the U. S. Census Bureau’s race projection data through July 2004, nearly 13 percent of the population of the United States is African-American. The Marine Corps’ partnership with TIYM Publishing, the yearbook’s publishing company, offers the Corps a perfect medium to increase public awareness of opportunities to serve in the Corps. In addition, the yearbook has an introductory letter from the Commandant of the Marine Corps and includes a seven-page color insert highlighting the accomplishments of Marines in various occupations and describing career opportunities available in the Corps.
According to the letter from the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Michael W. Hagee, the cornerstone of Marine Corps success at home and abroad is the leadership of a diverse group of men and women. He recognizes that our Corps benefits by accurately reflecting the diversity of the nation. No organization – military, business or government – can be truly effective unless it leverages the strengths of all its people.
During Wilson’s speech he emphasized the benefits of serving in the Marine Corps by highlighting the achievements of prominent African-Americans. He spoke of Marines such as Sergeant Major Alford McMichael, who was the first black Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, and First Lieutenant Vernice Armour, the Corps’ first black female combat pilot. These Marines, and thousands like them, continue to serve vital roles in the Global War on Terrorism.
“Our history is replete with examples of African-American Marines that have shown valor in combat,” Wilson said. “As we continue efforts during Operation Iraqi Freedom, African-Americans are serving with distinction in every area – direct combat, combat support and aviation.”
The yearbook is distributed annually to federal and state employment offices, private sector employment and minority business contacts, U. S. Armed Services recruiting stations, high schools, colleges and universities, libraries and U. S. Embassies and Consulates in Africa.
For more information on how to obtain a copy of the 2004 African-American Yearbook visit, www.AfricanAmericanYearbook.com or contact TIYM Publishing at (703) 734-1632.