The Department of Defense is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II this year. Its theme for Black History Month is "Honoring the Past, Securing the Future." On Feb. 20, 2020, Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, the Army Surgeon General, discussed what he learned from those who went before him and what Black History Month meant to him at the invitation of the 6th Medical Logistics Management Center, Fort Detrick, Maryland."I want to share something with you," Dingle said. "As we celebrate Black History Month, how do you "Honor the Past, Secure the Future? I want to share with you what I learned."Dingle told the story of LeRoy Battle, who he had met a number of times, including when he was a student at Morgan State University. Battle was a Tuskegee Airman, jazz musician, and educator who wrote a book -- "Easier Said" -- about his life's experiences. Dingle would see Battle and other older veterans wearing their cap from World War II, Korea, or Vietnam.At his college fraternity's 100th year anniversary, Dingle met Battle again. Battle was signing copies of his book and wearing his veteran's cap, a red jacket, and his service medals. Dingle had not realized that he and Battle were fraternity brothers."I'm talking to an actual Tuskegee Airman," Dingle said. "He told me of his journey to become an officer."Battle told Dingle, "It wasn't easy, but we didn't give up. We [the Tuskegee Airmen] knew that, as Soldiers, we had to stick together in order to complete the mission. We served in combat, and we had a phenomenal record. We took pride in everything we did. We fought racism and segregation--not just in this country but in Europe."Battle went on. "We knew that, as Soldiers, the Jim Crow laws that taught segregation and separation were wrong. But we were not going to stand down--we were going to fight it--even though the opposition was large and great, both within and without."Battle told me of the injustices and inequalities they faced to become commissioned officers, said Dingle. The challenges were just as great for those in the enlisted ranks, he added."The Tuskegee Airman could not settle for mediocrity or average," Dingle said. "Some of the Airman sacrificed their lives, some stood up in the face of racism and were kicked out. Some were shot, some were hung, some were murdered."Dingle said he had been thinking he was talking to just another "old guy" wearing a veteran's hat. Now he realized that "I was seeing history right before me.""We all stand on the history of legends that have gone before that have brought change," Dingle said.Battle left Dingle with one more thought: "In our battalion, in our squadron, as Tuskegee Airmen, what you would not find [written down] was what our mantra was. I want you to take this and apply it to everything you do as you go through life. Always stay focused on what you are doing. As you go through hard times, I want you to stick to it. Just like the Tuskegee Airmen, I want you to get it done. No excuses!"When the airmen had a tough time with training, Dingle said, they would tell each other "Stay focused, stick to it, get it done.""Take this with you in your life as a leader and a Soldier as you go forward," Dingle said. "Life is going to happen, and when it hits, you have to stay focused and get it done."Dingle closed with a quote from Martin Luther King:"We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late.""I dare you to take the 'urgency of now' in your life--not just professionally but personally" said Dingle. "I dare you to do as the Tuskegee mantra. I dare you to stay focused. I dare you to stick to it. I dare you to get it done.""You--we--have a role in securing the future, "said Dingle. "Build a team and create an opportunity for the next generation. Leave nothing undone that you are supposed to get done. Only you know the mission, so get it done."