Statement by Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth on the 75th Anniversary of Executive Order 9981

By Sec. Christine E. WormuthJuly 26, 2023

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Seventy five years ago today, President Harry Truman ordered the desegregation of the United States Army and its sister services. Although Black American soldiers had served with honor in every conflict our nation had fought, they had long been denied basic rights and equality of opportunity. Ending racial discrimination in the military made our Army immeasurably stronger and moved our country closer to fulfilling its founding promise.

On this important anniversary, we celebrate the monumental contributions that Black American soldiers have made to our Army, before and after the end of segregation. We honor the patriotic legacy of the Double V campaign, dedicated to achieving victories over fascism abroad and discrimination at home. And we recognize the leadership of President Truman, an Army veteran who moved forward with desegregation in the face of fierce and entrenched opposition.

We should be proud of the progress the Army has made in ensuring that every soldier, regardless of race, can pursue the unlimited opportunities that military service offers. People are the Army’s most precious resource, and being able to draw on the talents of all qualified Americans better positions us to succeed in our mission. There is no room for prejudice, racism, or extremism in the greatest land fighting force on earth. Today, let us all recommit to building the strong and cohesive teams we need to defend our country while securing the freedoms that generations of soldiers have fought to defend.