The mistake people often make about the military is that they assume it is a monolith. The truth is, the military is full of people from differing walks of life, beliefs, and backgrounds. While some may see only divisions and fault lines, as a military community, we know that our strength comes from our breadth of experiences and incredible diversity. Today, we focus on just a few of the contributions black women have made to the Armed Forces.
1. Master Gunnery Sgt. Shalanda Raynor (right) retires as the first female in Marine Corps history to achieve the rank of Master Gunnery Sergeant in her MOS.
2. A Marine Corps recruit allows others to stand on her shoulders as she participates in an activity during the Crucible.
3. Pfc. Nessy Sanders is the first female to deploy to Ebril, Iraq as a Combat Engineer, an MOS that was only opened to women in 2015.
4. Dr. Olivia Hooker, the first African American woman to join the Coast Guard and a centenarian, celebrates as the galley at Coast Guard Sector New York is named in her honor in 2015.
5. A sailor and a female monk hug at the conclusion of a Navy-led volunteer community relations project in Spain.
6. An ROTC member at Clemson University teaches other cadets how to clear an injured person’s airway.
7. Navy engineer Tiffany Owens (left) receives the Women of Color Magazine’s 2016 Community Service Award for inspiring students to pursue interests in science, technology, engineering, and math.
8. A semi-professional football player, Staff Sgt. April Bryant is a wide receiver and safety for the Richmond Black Widows.
9. Female recruits rest during training.
10. Midshipmen dine with the Janie L. Mines, the first black woman to graduate from the US Naval Academy, in honor of Black History Month.
11. Two sailors watch the coast of South Korea disappear into the distance.
12. Delaware Army National Guardsman work a traffic control point during the 2017 Presidential Inauguration.
13. Army Reserve soldiers receive final instructions from their first sergeant.
14. An Airman, decked out in Mardi Gras gear, rides her unit’s float in the annual Vance Mardi Gras parade.