KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany –
The 405th Army Field Support Brigade joined the nation in celebrating the history and accomplishments of Black Americans during an observation and recognition event at the brigade’s main conference room Feb. 22 in honor of Black History Month.
Soldiers, Army civilians and local national employees from the 405th AFSB participated, both in person and virtually. The brigade’s command team, Col. Brad Bane and Command Sgt. Maj. Kofie Primus, provided introductory remarks.
“It’s important to recognize the injustices that occurred and the struggles that occurred,” said Bane, “and it’s equally important to recognize truthfully how far we’ve come as a nation and as an Army and where we need to continue to strive to keep doing better.”
“To put it in context, what we are doing here is very important,” said Primus. “It’s good that we are able to shed some light on some of the achievements that Black Americans have made throughout the years.”
The guest speaker for the 405th AFSB Black History Month event was Air Force Cpt. Thomas Simmons, a chaplain with Ramstein Air Base’s 86th Airlift Wing. He said to be asked to speak at an event as meaningful, relevant and significant as Black History Month was a huge honor.
“It goes without saying that Black History is indeed a part of American history. It is your history. It is my history. It is our history,” said Simmons. “It’s important when having a conversation about history, we must not overlook the contributions and the legacy of Black Americans who have come before us.”
“Now we stand on the mantle of freedom and justice – freedom and equality,” Simmons said. “Freedom, freedom, freedom to all in such a way that says I am concerned personally about your generational health as a human being and as a person – not just in your mind and your body and your muscles – but in your heart and your identity – the integrity of who you represent and who we are as a people.”
As part of the 405th AFSB Black History Month event, participants watched an 11-minute video about Black American athletes and their contributions to the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics during the Nazi reign. At these Olympic Games, Black Americans such as Jesse Owens, Cornelius Johnson and Archie Williams took home eight gold medals and six silver and bronze medals, crushing the preposterous Nazi assertion that the Aryan race was the world’s superior race.
The Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute's theme for Black History Month this year is Black Health and Wellness. This year Olympic gold medal winner John Woodruff was remembered for his achievements in Berlin. Woodruff was only 20-years-old and a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh in 1936 when he earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. Despite his inexperience, he was the favorite in the 800-meter race, and he did not disappoint. In one of the most exciting races in Olympic history, Woodruff became boxed in by other runners and was forced to stop running. He then came from behind to win the gold medal.
The 405th AFSB is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging the U.S. Army Materiel Command materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.