“We have all seen the tragic headlines and subsequent turbulent events of the past several days, from Minneapolis to Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles - borne perhaps out of historic and systemic issues of injustice that our country continues to confront, but make no mistake - this affects and impacts every citizen of our great Nation.
The strength of our mighty Navy comes from our ability to rise above our disparate backgrounds, our diverse cultural upbringing and history, in order to present a united front and fight as one team. We proudly embrace our diversity, the very core of our strength, and it is because we represent every race, color and creed that makes up the fabric of America that we can truly represent this nation so undeniably well.
As Sailors, we cannot tolerate discrimination of any kind. We must actively speak out and work to fight it, as it works against the very tenets of “team” that make us successful in combat. It is your absolute right afforded under the constitution to express yourself, but as events unfold and potentially devolve into violence or unlawful behavior, I would ask that you look out for both your fellow shipmates AND your fellow citizens. Keep them from harm and try to deal with problems you see at the lowest possible level - reach out to them directly if you can, but exercise good judgment in order to be sure a dangerous situation does not spin out of control. If you see something, say something.
Honoring Sailor legacies like Dorie Miller and Carl Brashear is so important, but it is equally important to seek the perspective and context of our shipmates of color we serve alongside today. I’m so proud that our Navy & Marine Corps Team continues to evolve for the future fight, leveraging our diversity of background and thought, and truly hope each of you continues that evolution within your own sphere of influence.”
-MCPON Russell Smith