69 years ago today, Truman ordered 'right and just' desegregation of US armed forces

Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 4:13 PM

American President Harry S. Truman (1884 - 1972) smiles as he makes a national radio address on labor and wage controls, Washington DC, January 3, 1946. (Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images)
PhotoQuest/Getty Images
American President Harry S. Truman (1884 - 1972) smiles as he makes a national radio address on labor and wage controls, Washington DC, January 3, 1946. (Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images)(PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

Sixty-nine years ago on July 26, 1948, President Harry Truman issued an executive order abolishing racial discrimination in the United States armed forces.

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“It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin,” executive order 9981 stated.

While the issued order established the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services, or the Fahy Committee, segregation in the military wouldn’t officially end for months.

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The number of black Marines grew quickly, from 1,525 to 17,000 in May 1949.

Full integration, according to the Truman Library, didn’t happen until the Korean War in 1953, “when heavy casualties forced segregated units to merge for survival.”

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Before executive order 9981, blacks and other minorities serving in the military were segregated into separate units, often performing menial tasks.

Segregation within the armed services came to an official end in November 1954 with the deactivation of the 94th Engineer Battalion, the country’s last black military unit.

Read executive order 9981 below:

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9981

Establishing the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity In the Armed Forces.

WHEREAS it is essential that there be maintained in the armed services of the United States the highest standards of democracy, with equality of treatment and opportunity for all those who serve in our country's defense:

NOW THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, by the Constitution and the statutes of the United States, and as Commander in Chief of the armed services, it is hereby ordered as follows:

  1. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin. This policy shall be put into effect as rapidly as possible, having due regard to the time required to effectuate any necessary changes without impairing efficiency or morale.
  2. There shall be created in the National Military Establishment an advisory committee to be known as the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services, which shall be composed of seven members to be designated by the President.
  3. The Committee is authorized on behalf of the President to examine into the rules, procedures and practices of the Armed Services in order to determine in what respect such rules, procedures and practices may be altered or improved with a view to carrying out the policy of this order. The Committee shall confer and advise the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Air Force, and shall make such recommendations to the President and to said Secretaries as in the judgment of the Committee will effectuate the policy hereof.
  4. All executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Committee in its work, and to furnish the Committee such information or the services of such persons as the Committee may require in the performance of its duties.
  5. When requested by the Committee to do so, persons in the armed services or in any of the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall testify before the Committee and shall make available for use of the Committee such documents and other information as the Committee may require.
  6. The Committee shall continue to exist until such time as the President shall terminate its existence by Executive order.

Harry Truman

The White House
July 26, 1948

 

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2 soldiers killed in helicopter crash

Published: Saturday, April 07, 2018 @ 3:38 PM



Getty Images
(Getty Images)

Two soldiers were killed Friday night after an AH-64E Apache helicopter crashed during training at Fort Campbell.

It was the second fatal helicopter crash during training this week involving American servicemen.

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Gunnery Sgt. Derik Holley, 33, whose parents live in Washington Twp., was one of four Marines killed in Tuesday's crash of a Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.

The names of the soldiers who died in Friday’s crash were not immediately released pending notification of families, according to the Associated Press.

Army officials said the soldiers were members of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 on board crashes into Pacific: Live updates

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 8:09 PM
Updated: Saturday, November 25, 2017 @ 12:29 PM

U.S. Navy Aircraft Crashed into Pacific with 11 On Board

A U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 people on board has crashed into the Pacific Ocean, officials said Wednesday.

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Air Force pilot killed, 1 injured in crash near Texas’ Laughlin Air Force Base

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 9:53 AM

Lt. Col. Thomas Allen, 87th Flying Training Squadron commander, lands a T-38C Talon after a formation flight at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 18, 2017. The T-38 is the training aircraft used to teach student pilots the basics of flying. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Benjamin N. Valmoja)
Airman 1st Class Benjamin Valmoj/47th Flying Training Wing Public
Lt. Col. Thomas Allen, 87th Flying Training Squadron commander, lands a T-38C Talon after a formation flight at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 18, 2017. The T-38 is the training aircraft used to teach student pilots the basics of flying. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Benjamin N. Valmoja)(Airman 1st Class Benjamin Valmoj/47th Flying Training Wing Public)

One pilot died and another was injured Monday when an Air Force T-38 Talon crashed in Del Rio, Texas, according to officials.

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The T-38 crashed around 4 p.m. about 14 miles northwest of Laughlin Air Force Base, where the jet was assigned, base officials said.

Authorities did not immediately identify the pilots, citing the need to notify their families.

According to Air Force officials, “the T-38 is the training aircraft used to teach student pilots the basics of flying.”

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The circumstances surrounding the crash were not immediately clear. Base officials said a board of officers will investigate the crash.

“Our biggest priority at this time is caring for the family and friends of our Airmen,” Col. Michelle Pryor, 47th Flying Training Wing vice commander, said in a news release. “We are a close-knit family, and when a tragedy like this occurs every member of the U.S. Armed Forces feels it. Our people take top priority, and we are committed to ensuring their safety and security."

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Navy plans operation pause, calls for review of collisions in the Pacific

Published: Monday, August 21, 2017 @ 11:45 AM

Damage to the portside is visible as the Guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) steers towards Changi naval base in Singapore following a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. The USS John S. McCain was docked at Singapore's naval base with
Damage to the portside is visible as the Guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) steers towards Changi naval base in Singapore following a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. The USS John S. McCain was docked at Singapore's naval base with "significant damage" to its hull after an early morning collision with the Alnic MC as vessels from several nations searched Monday for missing U.S. sailors. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton/U.S. Navy photo via AP)(Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton/AP)

The U.S. Navy will take a one-day operational pause in the coming weeks to “ensure we are taking all appropriate immediate measure to enhance the Navy’s safe and effective operation around the world,” Navy Adm. John Richardson, who is chief of naval operations, said on Monday.

The pause was announced on the same day officials said they were launching a broad investigation into the Pacific fleet in light of recent accidents, including Monday morning’s collision between the USS John S. McCain and a merchant ship in the waters of Southeast Asia.

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Ten sailors remained missing Monday, hours after the USS John S. McCain, a guided missile destroyer, and the 600-foot Alnic MC collided off the coast of Singapore, Navy officials said. Five other sailors were injured.

A search for the missing sailors was ongoing Monday.

"This is the second major collision in the last three months, and is the latest in a series of major incidents, particularly in the Pacific theater,” Richardson said in a video statement released Monday. “This trend demands more forceful action.”

The USS John S. McCain, named for Republican Sen. John McCain’s father and grandfather, who were both Navy admirals, was pulled on Monday evening to Changi Naval Base in Singapore. The crash left the ship with significant hull damage, allowing water to flood into nearby compartments, naval officials said.

“I don't want to speculate how the incident happened, but this area -- it's a busy area, considering the two vessels are about to enter the traffic separation scheme,” said Adm. Datuk Zulkifili Abu Bakarthe, head of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, according to The Navy Times.

The newspaper reported that about 80,000 vessels travel the strait each year.

>> Related: 10 sailors missing after USS John S. McCain collides with tanker

A defense official told The Associated Press earlier Monday that Richardson directed Adm. Phil Davidson, head of the Navy’s Fleet Forces, to lead the investigation.

The unnamed official told the AP that “Richardson wants to ensure there aren’t bigger problems that may be masked by the high pace of ship operations in the Pacific region.”

Richardson said the investigation would include “trends in operational tempo, performance, maintenance, equipment and personnel,” along with “surface warfare training and career development, including tactical and navigational proficiency.”

Monday’s crash was the second major collision involving a U.S. Navy warship from the 7th Fleet in two months, according to The Navy Times. It is the fourth accident involving a naval vessel in the Pacific this year, according to The Washington Post.

Seven sailors died and three others were injured on June 17 when a merchant vessel and the USS Fitzgerald collided in the Philippine Sea, about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. Officials determined that the collision was avoidable and dismissed the ship’s commanding officer, executive officer and command master chief after the crash.

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