02 March 2018
Col. Karen J. Roe, 21st Signal Brigade commanding officer, provides remarks during the Black History Month observance at Fort Detrick, Maryland, Feb. 21. This year’s Black History Month theme, “African Americans in Times of War,” emphasizes African American contributions and service in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Fort Detrick Celebrates Black History Month
Nick Minecci, USAG Public Affairs
The 21st Signal Brigade sponsored a Black History Month observance at the Fort Detrick Auditorium on Fort Detrick, Maryland, Feb. 21.

Celebrated each year during the month of February, the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute theme for 2018 is “African Americans in Times of War,”
commemorating the centennial of the end of the First World War in 1918, and highlighting the service and sacrifice of African Americans during wartime from the Revolutionary War to present.

The featured guest speaker for this year’s event was Chaplain (Col.) James Palmer, command chaplain for the U.S. Army Training Center at Fort Eustis, Virginia.

Palmer gave an impassioned speech recounting the contributions of African Americans serving in the military, from the Revolution through today’s wars against terrorism. He spoke about 2nd Lt. Emily Perez, a graduate of Oxen Hill High School in Oxen Hill, Maryland, and graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, the first female West Point graduate killed in Iraq.

“Emily Perez was a leader. She was the highest ranking African American female cadet in the history of West Point attaining the rank of cadet command sergeant major and was an outstanding person in every way. She excelled in academics and sports and was killed by an IED in 2006. She was a role model to all who knew her,” he said.

“We share a pride in the accomplishments of all the African American men and women who served in the cause of freedom, even when things here at home were not so free, and we continue to celebrate those who serve today,” said Palmer.

The program also included musical selections performed by Master Sgt. Brooks Reeves from the 21st Signal Brigade, Don Blakey from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command G4 and Mr. and Mrs. Walter Clowes from Frederick, Maryland; a reading of the 2018 Presidential Proclamation by Sgt. Ryan Lucas of the 21st Signal Brigade; and a slideshow highlighting the achievements of African Americans in the military presented by 1st Sgt. Shantelle Kelly, from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 21st Signal Brigade.

“This has been a wonderful event, and I want to thank everyone who made it happen,” said Col. Karen J. Roe, 21st Signal Brigade commander, during her closing remarks. “It’s so important we not only recognize the achievements of the great Americans we heard about today, but we honor the diversity of our Nation and honor all those who have sacrificed so much.”
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