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By J.G. Noll

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.

14 photos that prove #BlackGirlMagic is alive and well in the military
(Photo: Official United States Marine Corps photo by Kathy Reesey/Released)

2. A Marine Corps recruit allows others to stand on her shoulders as she participates in an activity during the Crucible.

(Photo: DVIDS)

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.

14 photos that prove #BlackGirlMagic is alive and well in the military
(Photo: DVIDS)

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.

14 photos that prove #BlackGirlMagic is alive and well in the military
(Photo: Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

5. A sailor and a female monk hug at the conclusion of a Navy-led volunteer community relations project in Spain.

14 photos that prove #BlackGirlMagic is alive and well in the military
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jessika Braden)

6. An ROTC member at Clemson University teaches other cadets how to clear an injured person’s airway.

14 photos that prove #BlackGirlMagic is alive and well in the military
(Photo: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Scar)

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.

14 photos that prove #BlackGirlMagic is alive and well in the military
(Photo: DVIDS)

8. A semi-professional football player, Staff Sgt. April Bryant is a wide receiver and safety for the Richmond Black Widows.

14 photos that prove #BlackGirlMagic is alive and well in the military
(Photo: DVIDS)

9. Female recruits rest during training.

14 photos that prove #BlackGirlMagic is alive and well in the military
(Photo: DVIDS)

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.

14 photos that prove #BlackGirlMagic is alive and well in the military
(Photo: U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan L. Correa/Released)

11. Two sailors watch the coast of South Korea disappear into the distance.

14 photos that prove #BlackGirlMagic is alive and well in the military
(Photo: U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Recruit Ben Larscheid)

12. Delaware Army National Guardsman work a traffic control point during the 2017 Presidential Inauguration.

14 photos that prove #BlackGirlMagic is alive and well in the military
(Photo: U.S. Army National Guard, 2nd Lt. Wendy Callaway)

13. Army Reserve soldiers receive final instructions from their first sergeant.

14 photos that prove #BlackGirlMagic is alive and well in the military
(Photo: U.S. Army Reserve, Master Sgt. Michel Sauret)

14. An Airman, decked out in Mardi Gras gear, rides her unit’s float in the annual Vance Mardi Gras parade.

14 photos that prove #BlackGirlMagic is alive and well in the military
(Photo: U.S. Air Force, David Poe)

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