As Director of the Army's new Diversity Task Force, I am looking forward to working with Secretary Geren and General Casey on diversity issues in our organization.

Our Nation will honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a federal holiday on 21 January. While this is a day off from work for most Soldiers and Army Civilians, I encourage everyone to take some time and reflect on why we honor Dr. King. As we approach Dr. King's birthday, I would ask every leader throughout the Army to make this "a day on, not a day off." As individuals, this means giving back to your community by volunteering on a wide variety of service projects. As leaders we should take this opportunity to reflect back on our management of diversity over the year and focus on ways to improve. Diversity is not an ends, but a means by which we make our Army stronger.

Enjoy the holiday and remember Dr. King's inclusive world with equality for all.

BG Belinda Pinckney
Director, Army Diversity Task Force

In Remembrance and Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday (15 Jan 1929) and Army Diversity

Today marks the 79th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King devoted his life to achieving his vision of a world free from prejudice and injustice...a world that values people for who they are and what they can accomplish. As the Nation remembers Dr. King's achievements and celebrates his life, it is useful to reflect on how far we have come, and on the work we must still do.

Today we live in the world's most free and open society. Our greatness as a country is because we are a people committed to the common cause of freedom for all. We are a pluralistic society that is diverse in our ethnic, racial, and religious make-up. This diversity is one of our Nation's greatest strengths and the reason why so many want to live in the "land of the free."

Our Army is a reflection of our society. We are a diverse force that is strengthened by different perspectives, approaches, and skills. There is strength in diversity. Our military shares Dr. King's vision, and one of our principles is equality-regardless of race or gender. Military leaders understand that the very effectiveness of military units depends on our ability to leverage our differences and work together.

Our Army is the Strength of this Nation. Today we have more than 220,000 Soldiers -supported by their Families and dedicated Army Civilians-deployed around the world, defending our country and our allies against a global terrorist network that is determined to destroy our freedom and way of life. This team of brave Americans is willing to do this because they believe in the principles of freedom and equality for everyone - the very principles Dr. King believed in.

Although the Army has come a long way, we still have work to do. We must keep working at it, never losing sight of Dr. King's vision for America. We share his beliefs and are committed to turning his dream into reality.

Pete Geren
Secretary of the Army

George W. Casey, Jr.
General, United States Army
Chief of Staff

Kenneth O. Preston
Sergeant Major of the Army