News: 3rd Brigade Combat Team celebrates black history on Forward Operating Base Marez
Story by Maj. Ramona Bellard
MOSUL, Iraq — 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division held two separate Black History Month observance luncheons Feb 18 and 19 at Forward Operating Base Marez and FOB Diamondback dining facilities in Mosul, Iraq.
The program, overseen by Sgt. 1st Class Cadonna Odom, Equal Opportunity Adviser, 3rd BCT, 1st Cav. Div., and hosted 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd BCT, 1st Cav. Div., consisted of speech and poem presentations as well as tributes in song and an inspiring reflection by guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Derrick Taylor, Special Troops Battalion, 3rd BCT, 1st Cav. Div.
"This observance is special because it is the first observance for 3rd Brigade in Iraq. Beyond being Department of the Army mandated, ethnic observances make everyone feel included and in this way every Soldier understands that they are part of the team. It also reinforces that the command cares," said Odom. Odom added that Soldiers should be given the same opportunity to participate in or attend ethnic observances as they would enjoy back at Fort Hood or their home stations.
Pfc. Marsha Wright, 215th BSB, 3rd 3rd BCT, 1st Cav. Div., who entertained attendees with a song during the celebration said this black history event was definitely special.
"There is more hope – I never thought I would see a black president, let alone my Mama see a black president. I still can't believe it. This Black History Month to me means hope. We've come a long way, and we still have a way to go, but the future is looking mighty bright – because of hope," said Wright.
Cpt. Mariwin Basco, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd BCT, 1st Cav. Div., also praised the event suggesting that this event offers everyone an opportunity to reflect on who they are and where they come from.
"A lot of the new generation forgets where they've come from. Events like this make you appreciative of who you are as a person no matter what your background", said Basco.
Sgt. 1st Class Sonja Kennedy, HHT, 3rd BCT, 1st Cav. Div., echoed the importance of the event and said Black History Month has always been an important time to her. "I'm from the north and we celebrate black history more than in the south. We've done so much that one month just doesn't justify what we've done in Black American history," said Kennedy.
Wisdom abounded in the "sermonesque" speeches and remarks throughout the event but Chaplain Rickey Brunson, 215th BSB, 3rd BCT, 1st Cav. Div., who offered an invocation and benediction during the black history celebration, best summed up the significance of ethnic/cultural observances. "Our most powerful weapon is not the M4 [rifle] – it is our diversity and our ability to accept one another's differences, said Brunson.
While this nearly standing room only black history event was organized and sponsored by 215th BSB, the celebration of Black History Month commenced with a big screen showing of the theatrical film "Glory," on Feb 6. Each Friday night in February a movie featuring a black cast is shown at the Morale Recreation and Welfare Center on FOB Marez in honor of Black History Month.
"We will be here for just a year, so we only have one chance to make our ethnic observances special – with two luncheons and weekly movie nights, I think we accomplished our goal for Black History Month," said Odom.
This work, 3rd Brigade Combat Team celebrates black history on Forward Operating Base Marez, by MAJ Ramona Bellard, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.