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Article by Naval History and Heritage Command

To honor African American History Month, the following is a collection of graphics depicting some of the black officers and enlisted personnel who have stood out among the U.S. Navy’s best and brightest, gaining recognition in their roles as trailblazers.

The Golden Thirteen

The Golden Thirteen were 13 enlisted Sailors who became the first African-American commissioned and warrant officers in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Master Chief Carl Brashear

Master Chief Carl Brashear was the first African American to officially become a U.S. Navy Master Diver.

Doris Miller

Doris Miller was an African-American Sailor who earned the Navy Cross for bravery during the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II.

Harriet Pickens and Frances Wills

Harriet Ida Pickens and Frances Eliza Wills were the first two African-American women to become commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy.

Master Chief April Beldo

Master Chief April Beldo was the first African-American female Command Master Chief (CMC) of an aircraft carrier and the first African-American female CMC of Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes.

Admiral Michelle Howard

Admiral Michelle J. Howard was the first African-American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship, as well as the first woman to become a four-star admiral.

For further information, read this article about The African American Experience in the U.S. Navy.