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Ken Hechler, a White House assistant and speechwriter for President Harry S. Truman, speaks during the Aug. 6, 2008, 60th anniversary commemoration of Truman's signing of Executive Orders 9980 and 9981, which integrated the armed forces and the federal civil service. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates hosted the event inside the Pentagon Auditorium. Defense Dept. photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Molly A. Burgess [Click for Hi-res]

DoD Commemorates 60 Years
Of Armed Forces Integration

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2008 – Marking the 60th anniversary of the integration of the armed services is a reminder of "how far we've come toward living up to our founding ideals and how far we still have to go," said Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates at the Pentagon. Story | Video

Defense Department Reflects on Truman's Fight for Civil Rights

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2008 - As the Defense Department commemorated 60 years of integration, President Harry S. Truman was remembered for making tough choices: polls taken before the 1948 presidential election showed that 82 percent of Americans opposed Truman's integration plans. Story

National Guard's Diversity Found in States, Territories, Communities

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2008 – Today's diversity in the Army and Air National Guard reflects the diversity of the communities its members serve and live in, the National Guard Bureau's equal opportunity and civil rights director said. Story

Mullen Praises Trailblazers

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2008 - A racially integrated U.S. military is a national strength, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during an interview with the Pentagon Channel. Story

Top Enlisted Sailor Urges Continued Progress in Diversity

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2008 – Though 60 years have passed since an executive order ended segregation in the U.S. military, today’s servicemembers still have work to do to make the most of diversity in the ranks, the Navy’s top enlisted sailor said. Story

Order Sets Family Tradition

The Brunson family of Fayetteville, N.C., have made a family tradition of military service.WASHINGTON, July 29, 2008 – For the Brunson family of Fayetteville, N.C., President Harry S. Truman's 1948 order paved the way for Army service to become a family tradition. Story

Former Chairman Discusses Truman’s 1948 Integration Order

Former Chairman Colin PowellWASHINGTON, July 28, 2008 – The opportunities that all servicemembers enjoy today are the result of people insisting things can be better, the first African-American to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. Story

Army Personnel Official Calls Diversity a National Security Issue

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2008 – Ensuring the Army’s force is diverse goes beyond the initial integration of blacks into the service 60 years ago, the Army’s top personnel officer said. Story

Diverse Military Brings Credibility

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2008 – Today’s military is stronger and has more credibility in large part due to a presidential decision 60 years ago to integrate the forces, the defense undersecretary for personnel and readiness said. Story

Integration Transformed Military

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2008 – Not even a presidential order could accomplish the full and fair integration of African-Americans in the U.S. military. That would take the Korean War. Story

Truman Gambled Election
With Military Integration Order

Portrait of Harry TrumanWASHINGTON, July 22, 2008 – In July of 1948, President Harry S. Truman put his election bid in jeopardy by ordering the end of segregation in the U.S. military. His order would create years of turmoil in the services, but also allow the military to lead the nation in civil rights. Story