• Command Sgt. Maj. Derrick Taylor, 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, the guest speaker for the black history celebration held in Mosul, Iraq, at the FOB Diamondback dining facility on Feb 19, set the tone and drew laughter when he opened with, "In the words of an old Baptist preacher, I wont hold you long."   Paraphrasing Maya Angelou's address to a congregation in Dallas, Texas, Taylor, in character said, "My, my, my there's so many people on this stage there's hardly enough room for me - move over."  Taylor related that same sentiment to his own gratitude to the many people who have paved the way enabling him to accomplish all that he has in his career and life.

    Command Sgt. Maj. Derrick Taylor, 3rd Special...

    Command Sgt. Maj. Derrick Taylor, 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, the guest speaker for the black history celebration held in Mosul, Iraq, at the FOB Diamondback dining facility on Feb 19, set the tone...

  • Lt. Col. Loren Schriner, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, provided opening remarks during the black history celebration held at the FOB Marez dining facility in Mosul, Iraq on Feb 18.  In his opening remarks, Schriner talked about the rich military history of black American's, specifically calling attention to the all black 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, "Triple Nickel," who became known as the "smoke jumpers" because they made over 1000 jumps into forests to fight fires set by Japanese balloon-carried incendiary bombs.

    Lt. Col. Loren Schriner, 215th Brigade Support...

    Lt. Col. Loren Schriner, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, provided opening remarks during the black history celebration held at the FOB Marez dining facility in Mosul, Iraq on Feb 18. In his opening...

  • Staff Sgt. Verlena Fernandes, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, embodied black haughtiness with her hip swaying, shoulder shrugging interpretation of the poem "Still I rise" by Maya Angelou during the black history celebration held at the FOB Marez dining facility in Mosul, Iraq on Feb 18.

    Staff Sgt. Verlena Fernandes, 215th Brigade...

    Staff Sgt. Verlena Fernandes, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, embodied black haughtiness with her hip swaying, shoulder shrugging interpretation of the poem "Still I rise" by Maya Angelou during the...

  • Pvt. Jeffrey Smith, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, entertained attendees with a song during the black history celebration held at the FOB Marez dining facility in Mosul, Iraq on Feb 18.

    Pvt. Jeffrey Smith, 215th Brigade Support...

    Pvt. Jeffrey Smith, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, entertained attendees with a song during the black history celebration held at the FOB Marez dining facility in Mosul, Iraq on Feb 18.

  • Spc. Ndubuisi Okolo, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, originally from West Africa told the audience what African American history meant to him.  From his West African perspective he suggested that the celebration of black history goes beyond skin color and racial barriers.  "America was built on that ever true and enduring ideal that anyone is free to aspire to the highest levels of attainment in life irrespective of skin color, gender, the circumstances of birth, family pedigree, creed or neighborhood", said Okolo during the black history celebration held at the FOB Marez dining facility in Mosul, Iraq on Feb 18.

    Spc. Ndubuisi Okolo, 215th Brigade Support...

    Spc. Ndubuisi Okolo, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, originally from West Africa told the audience what African American history meant to him. From his West African perspective he suggested that...

  • Attendees of the black history celebration held at the FOB Marez dining facility in Mosul, Iraq on Feb 18, join in prayer during the invocation.

    Title

    Attendees of the black history celebration held at the FOB Marez dining facility in Mosul, Iraq on Feb 18, join in prayer during the invocation.

  • A cake specially decorated by staff of the FOB Diamondback dining facility, in honor of Black History Month, is placed prominently near the entrance to the serving line during the black history celebration held at the FOB Diamondback dining facility in Mosul, Iraq on Feb 19.

    A cake specially decorated by staff of the FOB...

    A cake specially decorated by staff of the FOB Diamondback dining facility, in honor of Black History Month, is placed prominently near the entrance to the serving line during the black history celebration held at the FOB Diamondback dining facility in...

  • Sgt. 1st Class Latrice Jefferson, Equal Opportunity Leader, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and Sgt. 1st Class Cadonna Odom, Equal Opportunity Advisor, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, welcome an interruption from reviewing the program to show off a cake specially decorated by staff of the FOB Marez dining facility, in honor of Black History Month during the black history celebration held at the FOB Marez dining facility in Mosul, Iraq on Feb 18.

    Sgt. 1st Class Latrice Jefferson, Equal...

    Sgt. 1st Class Latrice Jefferson, Equal Opportunity Leader, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and Sgt. 1st Class Cadonna Odom, Equal Opportunity Advisor, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry...

MOSUL, Iraq - 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division held two separate Black History Month observance luncheons Feb 18 and 19, at Forward Operating Base Marez and FOB Diamondback dining facilities in Mosul, Iraq.

The program, overseen by Sgt. 1st Class Cadonna Odom, Equal Opportunity Advisor, 3rd HBCT, 1st Cav. Div., and hosted 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd HBCT, 1st Cav. Div., consisted of speech and poem presentations as well as tributes in song and an inspiring reflection by guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Derrick Taylor, Special Troops Battalion, 3rd HBCT, 1st Cav. Div.

"This observance is special because it is the first observance for 3rd Brigade in Iraq. Beyond being Department of the Army mandated, ethnic observances make everyone feel included and in this way every Soldier understands that they are part of the team. It also reinforces that the command cares," said Odom. Odom added that Soldiers should be given the same opportunity to participate in or attend ethnic observances as they would enjoy back at Fort Hood or their home stations.

Pfc. Marsha Wright, 215th BSB, 3rd 3rd HBCT, 1st Cav. Div., who entertained attendees with a song during the celebration said this black history event was definitely special.

"There is more hope - I never thought I would see a black president let alone my Mama see a black president. I still can't believe it. This Black History Month to me means hope. We've come a long way, and we still have a way to go, but the future is looking mighty bright - because of hope," said Wright.

Cpt. Mariwin Basco, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd HBCT, 1st Cav. Div., also praised the event suggesting that this event offers everyone an opportunity to reflect on who they are and where they come from. "A lot of the new generation forgets where they've come from. Events like this make you appreciative of who you are as a person no matter what your background", said Basco.

Sgt. 1st Class Sonja Kennedy, HHT, 3rd HBCT, 1st Cav. Div., echoed the importance of the event and said Black History Month has always been an important time to her. "I'm from the north and we celebrate black history more than in the south. We've done so much that one month just doesn't justify what we've done in Black American history," said Kennedy.

Wisdom abounded in the "sermonesque" speeches and remarks throughout the event but Chaplain Rickey Brunson, 215th BSB, 3rd HBCT, 1st Cav. Div., who offered an invocation and benediction during the black history celebration, best summed up the significance of ethnic/cultural observances. "Our most powerful weapon is not the M4 (rifle) - it is our diversity and our ability to accept one another's differences, said Brunson.

While this nearly standing room only black history event was organized and sponsored by 215th BSB, the celebration of Black History Month commenced with a big screen showing of the theatrical film "Glory," on Feb 6. Each Friday night in February a movie featuring a black cast is shown at the Morale Recreation and Welfare Center on FOB Marez in honor of Black History Month.

"We will be here for just a year, so we only have one chance to make our ethnic observances special - with two luncheons and weekly movie nights, I think we accomplished our goal for Black History Month," said Odom.
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Page last updated Mon March 9th, 2009 at 15:18