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FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Each February, we celebrate and honor the contributions of all Black Americans. Black History is American History, and Black Americans play a fundamental role in the development, enrichment and success of our Nation.

This year’s Black History Month theme is “Black Health and Wellness.” Black Americans have expertly served and led our nation in fields of health, wellness, medicine and science. One example is Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, a scientist at the National Institute of Health who worked on producing COVID-19 vaccines to combat the global pandemic. She is one of thousands of Black Americans who made incredible impacts on the course of global health; her accomplishments and leadership are an inspiration to all.

Although this year’s theme focuses on health and wellness, Black Americans have influenced our culture and improved our lives through their service in our Nation’s government, communities, civic organizations, and in our military. Our service members could not be who they are or where they are without Black Americans like those who served with the “Harlem Hellfighters” of the New York Army National Guard. The Harlem Hellfighters of the 369th Infantry Regiment were attached to the French Army during WWI, and showed incredible commitment, grit, and stamina as they advanced nine miles through German defenses over the course of six months. Privates Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts were just two exemplary Soldiers in the unit — they were the first two Americans to receive the French Croix de Guerre Medal for their bravery in combat.

As Black Americans have protected and defended our Constitution, they have helped us continue to strive toward its ideals, including “a more perfect union” — where perfect does not mean flawless, but, rather, complete or fully formed.

We are incredibly proud to serve with each of you and encourage you to observe and honor Black History Month.

Victory Starts Here — Victory Through Skill