Celebration and Sacrifice

Black History

The Halls of Power

Black history has been a progressive climb from without the lowest echelons of society during slavery to the highest.

When you think of black history, we often think of the civil rights movement, of John Brown’s violent protests, of the Underground Railroad. But black history doesn’t end with any one event. It is always in the process of being made every day.

We Salute

Black History Month we Salute General William E. “Kip” Ward, U.S. Commander, United States Africa Command

By Earl Keaton

During Black History Month we salute all of our military men and women serving our country. On January 30, 2010, CNN conducted a live interview with General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, discussing his experiences as the only black four-star general currently serving in the U.S. military. "I look at it as a chance to demonstrate that you can achieve those things if you set your mind to them, if you apply yourself in productive ways, if you're prepared to accept opportunity that comes your way and then move on," Ward said during the interview. He was also asked about U.S. Africa Command's role in the Haiti disaster relief efforts. Ward explained that an Africa Partnership Station vessel that was en route to West Africa for military-to-military training events was diverted to Haiti along with several African ship-riders who were on board. Ward was in Atlanta, Georgia to accept the Trumpet Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of black Americans who have significantly contributed to enhancing the quality of life for all. The complete CNN transcript is available at

As our only black American four-star General currently serving in the U.S. Military, he represents the first General to fulfill the position of USA Commander, U.S. Africa Command, Stuttgart, Germany, commencing this assignment in October 2007. Prior to assuming his current position, Commander Ward was Deputy Commander, Headquarters US European Command, Stuttgart, Germany. The U.S. Africa Command is one of six unified geographic commands within the Department of Defense unified command structure. He previously served as the Deputy Commanding General/Chief of Staff, US Army Europe and Seventh Army. While in this capacity he was selected by the Secretary of State to serve as the United States Security Coordinator, Israel - Palestinian Authority where he served from March through December 2005.

General Ward's awards and badges include: the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster); the Distinguished Service Medal; the Defense Superior Service Medal (with two Oak Leaf Clusters); the Legion of Merit (with three Oak Leaf Clusters); the Defense Meritorious Service Medal; the Meritorious Service Medal (with six Oak Leaf Clusters); the Joint Service Commendation Medal; the Army Commendation Medal (with three Oak Leaf Clusters); the Army Achievement Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster); the Expert Infantryman's Badge; the Combat Infantryman's Badge; and the Master Parachutist Badge. See Commander Ward’s Oak Leaf Clusters by visiting

His command and troop assignments include: Platoon Leader, 3d Battalion (Airborne), 325th Infantry, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Rifle Company Commander, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 17th Infantry, 2d Infantry Division, Camp Howze, Korea; S-4 (Logistics), 210th Field Artillery Brigade, VII Corps, US Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany; Executive Officer, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 7th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division, US Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany; Commander, 5th Battalion, 9th Infantry, 2d Brigade, later G-4 (Logistics), 6th Infantry Division (Light), Fort Wainwright, Alaska; Commander, 2d Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Light), Fort Drum, New York and Operation Restore Hope, Mogadishu, Somalia; Assistant Division Commander (Support), 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Commanding General 25th Infantry Division (Light) and US Army, Hawaii, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; and Commander, Stabilization Force, Operation Joint Forge, Sarajevo, Bosnia.

His staff assignments include: Executive Officer, US Army Military Community Activity -- Aschaffenburg, US Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany; Staff Officer (Logistics), Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, US Army, Washington, DC; Executive Officer to the Vice Chief of Staff, US Army, Washington, DC; Deputy Director for Operations, J-3, National Military Command Center, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC; Chief, Office of Military Cooperation, Egypt, American Embassy, Egypt; and Vice Director for Operations, J-3, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC.

About the Author: Saunders Insignia is a major supplier of insignia for the military. We stock over 15,000 items including
custom made patches, and custom made insignia. Earl F. Keaton the G.M. of has a B.S. from California Polytechnic University, USN reserve 4 years, USAF Technical advisor Korean War.

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