As we continue to celebrate important figures in naval history during Black History Month, we would like to introduce you to The Golden Thirteen, the first African American enlisted sailors commissioned to officer and warrant officer.
In 1944, there were over 100,000 Black Sailors serving in the Navy, but none of them were officers. That year, sixteen men were selected to begin officer training at Great Lakes. Though the odds were stacked against them, they were determined not to fail and worked hard by staying up late and studying every chance they got. Their hard work and dedication paid off, as all sixteen men passed the course!
Even though all sixteen men passed, the Navy only wanted to commission twelve of them at the time. In the end, twelve men were commissioned to officer and the thirteenth was made a chief warrant officer, creating The Golden Thirteen.
To read more about these men and their journey to commissioning, visit: https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/browse-by-topic/diversity/african-americans/golden-thirteen.html