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2021A Legacy of Service

Breaking Barriers

A US Navy dress uniform hat (a) worn by Admiral Michelle Howard as commander with a white waterproof fabric crown and a black canvas brim, with a hat band (b) featuring a US Navy insignia pin (c). The brim of the hat is stiffened, with both sides fixed in a turned up position. The interior of the hat is lined with black waterproof plastic with the manufacturer's name "Kingform Cap / De Luxe / NEW YORK" stamped on it in gold. The sides of the crown are lined in black synthetic satin fabric. There is a size "23" tag at the interior center back and a tag at the interior proper left back with style and military regulation information. 

The hat band (b) attaches to the hat (a) with four (4) metal snaps, one at the front and back and one on each side. The band is made from black canvas trimmed on the top edge with gold braid. A length of the black canvas cut on the bias is looped around the center back portion of the band and stitched to it at the bottom edge, with the tails left dangling below the brim of the hat (a). An oak leaf and acorn design is embroidered in metallic gold thread at the center front of the band. A piece of black felt backed in leather with rounded edges protrudes from the center front top edge of the band.

A large silver and gold metal US Navy insignia pin (c) with two screw back fasteners is attached to the black felt on the hat band (b). The eagle and shield are in silver, while the two crossed anchors are in gold.

U.S. Navy Dress Uniform Hat Worn by Admiral Michelle Howard, 1999

General Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander, United States Central Command and former Commanding General, United States Forces – Iraq

Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander, US Central Command and Former Commanding General, US Forces-Iraq, 2011

General Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander, United States Central Command and former Commanding General, United States Forces – Iraq

Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander, US Central Command and Former Commanding General, US Forces-Iraq, 2011

In 1991, almost 40 years after the official end of military segregation, General Colin Powell oversaw Operation Desert Storm in Iraq as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the Department of Defense. General Powell represents a long line of Black servicemen and servicewomen pushing boundaries in the military. He inspired the next generation of Black military service members including Admiral Michelle Howard who earned the distinction of being the first Black woman to command a U.S. Navy ship, the USS Rushmore.

African American resistance to centuries of racism, violence, and double standards enabled them to climb the military ranks and assert their citizenship. On January 22, 2021, Lloyd James Austin III, a four-star general, became the first African American to serve in the position of the United States Secretary of Defense. Gen. Mark A. Milley remarked of his career, “General Austin is the only general officer in the United States military of any service who has commanded in combat at every rank as a general in the last 15 years.”