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Maj. Gen. Clifford Stanley

U.S. Marine Corps MajGen. Clifford L. Stanley was born on March 31, 1947 in Washington, D.C. After graduating from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1965, Stanley enrolled in South Carolina State University and graduated with his B.S. degree in psychology in 1969. He went on to graduate with honors from Johns Hopkins University with his M.S. degree in counseling in 1977. In 2005, Stanley received his Ed.D. degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania. Stanley’s military education includes the Amphibious Warfare School (1978), the Naval War College (1983), the Marine Corps Command and Staff College (1984), and the National War College (1988).

Throughout his thirty-three year career, Stanley has served in numerous command and staff positions in the U.S. Marine Corps, including as commanding officer of M Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, commanding officer of Headquarters Company of the 4th Marines; commanding general of Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) Twentynine Palms, California; and commanding general of the Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia. In 1993 Stanley assumed command of the 1st Marine Regiment, Camp Pendleton, California, making him the first African American to command a U.S. Marine Corps Infantry Regiment. Stanley has also served in various assignments outside of the Fleet Marine Forces, including as psychology and leadership instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy; executive officer at the Marine Corps Institute; special assistant and Marine Corps aide for the Assistant Secretary of the Navy; and as a desk officer in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia and the Pacific Region in the Pentagon. In 2002, Stanley retired from the U.S. Marine Corps at the rank of Major General. He went on to serve as executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania, and then as president of Scholarship America, Inc. Stanley was sworn in as the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness on February 16, 2010.

Stanley is a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., the South Carolina State University Alumni Association, the National Naval Officers Association, and the White House Fellow’s Foundation and Association. He also serves as a member of the Board of Deacons at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Stanley’s military honors include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), the Navy Commendation Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal. His civilian awards include receiving the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (N.A.A.C.P.) Meritorious Service Award, the N.A.A.C.P. Roy Wilkins Award, and the American Legion Award for Inspirational Leadership. Stanley also received Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degrees from Spalding University and South Carolina State University, and the Doctor of Science, honoris causa from the Medical University of South Carolina.

Stanley and his wife, Rosalyn Hill Stanley, have one daughter: U.S. Navy Commander Angela Yvonne Stanley.

U.S. Marine Corps MajGen. Clifford Lee Stanley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 6, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.178

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/6/2013

Last Name

Stanley

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Occupation
Schools

University of Pennsylvania

Johns Hopkins University

South Carolina State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Clifford

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

STA08

Favorite Season

Spring

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Charleston, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

3/31/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Villanova

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp, Grits

Short Description

Major general Maj. Gen. Clifford Stanley (1947 - ) was assigned as commanding officer of the 1st Marine Regiment, Camp Pendleton, California from 1993 to 1994, making him the first African American to command a U.S. Marine Corps Infantry Regiment.

Employment

Company M, 3d Battalion, 8th Marines

United States Marine Corps

1st Battalion, 6th Marines

1st Marine Regiment

Marine Corps Institute and Parade Commander at Marine Barracks

First Recruit Training Battalion, Parris Island

2d Fleet, USS Mt Whitney, LCC-20

Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

Marine Corps Base

Favorite Color

Blue, Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Clifford Stanley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley talks about his mother's career, her personality, and how she raised her family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley talks about his paternal family's life during discrimination in the South

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley talks about his family being the target of a sniper attack and their response towards racial discrimination

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley describes his grandparents and how he was taught about the importance of character

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about the sniper attack on his family in April, 1975

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley talks about the impact of the sniper attack on his family in April of 1975

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley talks about his father's education and how his father was drafted into World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley describes how his parents met and married

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley discusses his father's employment as a photographer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley discusses his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley talks about his brother, Michael Stanley

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley talks about growing up around relatives in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley discusses his activities as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley discusses his experience in elementary school in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley talks about the integration of schools in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley talks about his favorite teachers in school and college and his elementary school in Washington, D.C.,

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley talks about his interest in reading and his struggle with mathematics

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley talks about his service activities as a child and his limited interest in television

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley talks about his middle school in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley talks about the Civil Rights Movement and his involvement in South Carolina State University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley talks about attending high school in Washington, D.C., and his family's interest in President John F. Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley talks about his service activities and African American members of the military

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about his involvement in junior ROTC in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley talks about his desire to become a lawyer while in high school, and the poor counseling that he received there

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley describes his decision to attend South Carolina State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley talks about the summer of 1965, before heading to college

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley describes his experience at South Carolina State University as well as meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley describes his extracurricular activities and leadership positions at South Carolina State University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley discusses the South Carolina State Student Legislative Branch and the resignation of President B.C. Turner

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley talks about the disciplinary standards at South Carolina State University

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the Orangeburg Massacre of 1968, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the Orangeburg Massacre of 1968, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Clifford Stanley talks about his stand during the Orangeburg Massacre

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about meeting the governor of South Carolina and Attorney Matthew Perry

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley talks about majoring in psychology, and graduating from South Carolina State University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley talks about his brother's service in the Vietnam War, and joining the U.S. Marines

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley talks about joining the U.S. Marine Corps and his training at Officer Candidate School

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley talks about leadership standards for the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley talks about becoming an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley talks about getting married in 1961, and reflects upon the Vietnam War

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley talks about serving as an infantryman in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon being an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1974

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the war in Afghanistan and in Iraq

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley describes his experience at the U.S. Naval Academy and talks about pursuing his master's degree at Johns Hopkins University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley discusses his experience and training at the Amphibious Warfare School

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley discusses his philosophy of command

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley discusses his assignment as the Infantry Company Commander, 3rd Marine Division, in Okinawa, Japan

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley discusses his assignments as a ceremonial parade commander and a special assistant in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley discusses his experience at Marine Corps Command and Staff College at Quantico, Virginia and talks about the Beirut bombing of 1983

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley discusses his experience at Camp Lejune and Parris Island in the 1980s, and the challenges that he faced in the Marines

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley talks about attending the National War College, and writing a paper on the fall of the Berlin War

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley talks about his experience as a White House Fellow in the Reagan and Bush administrations in the late 1980s, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about his experience as a White House Fellow in the Reagan and Bush administrations in the late 1980s, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley describes his service as advisor for POW/MIA Affairs and as assistant for Australia and New Zealand, Office of the Secretary of Defense

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley talks about his service as head of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command Battle Assessment Team at Quantico and in the Gulf War

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley describes his assignment and experience as Infantry Regimental Commander in the 1st Marine Division, at Camp Pendleton

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley explains the Posse Comitatus Act

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley discusses his appointment as a Fleet Marine Officer of USS Mount Whitney, and the challenges that he faced as an early-select colonel

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley discusses the challenges and resistance he faced in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley talks about the USS Mount Whitney

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that was signed into law in 1993

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley discusses his assignment as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, at the U.S. Marine Corps headquarters and as Director of Public Affairs

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley discusses his service as Commanding General of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, California

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley talks about the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley discusses his retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2002

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley discusses his appointment as executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley discusses his disappointing experience as the executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley discusses the genesis of his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley discusses his experience as the president of Scholarship America

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley describes his appointment as the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness in 2009

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley describes his experience as the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley discusses some of the problems that were faced by the Department of Defense when he became the Under Secretary of Defense

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about the closure of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the circumstances surrounding his resignation as the Under Secretary of Defense in 2011

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the being treated differently when making executive decisions in the U.S. Marine Corps and at the Pentagon

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley discusses his involvement with the National Naval Officers Association

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley talks about his involvement in the Baptist Church

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley describes his activities after retiring as the Under Secretary of Defense.

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon his legacy as a U.S. Marine

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley describes his hopes and concerns for U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon his career as a U.S. Marine

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about his daughter, Angela Stanley

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon his life's choices

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley discusses his religious faith

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

7$6

DAStory

7$8

DATitle
Clifford Stanley discusses the challenges and resistance he faced in the U.S. Marine Corps
Clifford Stanley discusses his experience at Camp Lejune and Parris Island in the 1980s, and the challenges that he faced in the Marines
Transcript
So, I check into the USS Mount Whitney [Norfolk, Virginia, as a Fleet Marine Officer]. I was there, I wasn't there four months, and I was early selected for brigadier general. And that also hasn't happened since then. I think there were two or three of us. There might have been three. But anyway, it was a below zone select. And that was, I might have been the only one, I'm not sure. But anyway, to make a long story short, I think I was the only one. That also set the stage for a different set of expectations. And so, I'm now a pioneer, when I didn't want to be a pioneer. And so, life got pretty interesting after that. I'm now in a peer group, as I'm standing here with brand new brigadier generals who were much senior to me. They were, you know, they used to be much senior to me. They're no longer. That doesn't go over very well in the [U.S.] Marine Corps. And so, that's one of the things that I experienced right early on. And although I had no regrets about it--because I didn't select myself, the Marine Corps did. You fast forward--even though I know we're going to go back to some of this. I was not selected for major general the first time. That's transparent to a lot of folks. And I'm now back with my peers. But that's considered just about, you know, pass over. The subtleties, or not so subtle things, were that your record didn't change. But there are a lot of folks who said, okay we're going to make this right, you know. Because the people who selected me were people like this general that weighed in, and some other folks--these other older generals--who saw, who wanted, and who pushed. But I was closer now to a peer group who were a little bit senior--who didn't see, who didn't like, and who didn't support. And so, I ran into what I would call the block. And--$$So, every time you were helped up, there was--they made another group a little angrier.$$Oh yeah, oh yeah. And again, I mean if you had your (unclear), you'd rather just kind of be in the mix. Because I'm not trying to do anything. You're just trying to do your job and to serve. It's still altruistic, but that's not the way that's taken when someone's reaching in to do things. My peers at the other services--that happened, but they were advanced. I mean, you know, and they continued. They became four-stars. They became three-stars and things like that. But in the Marine Corps, after myself--me and Charlie Bolden [also a HistoryMaker] left. That's when things started opening up a little bit, because our move was within two, within a month of each other. Both of us were in the same position. Charlie goes down to NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration]. And both of us retired as two-stars. Both of us were continuing to be pioneers; both of us were reaching a certain point; and both of us, independent of each other, without collusion, said it's time. And we moved. And then things opened up a little bit. I've kind of gave you some narrative that wasn't where your question was, but--.$$Yeah, but that's important narrative though, nevertheless.$Alright, so, Camp Lejeune [North Carolina] in '84 [1984]. [Marine Corps recruit Depot] Parris Island [South Carolina] in '86 [1986]. So, you were at Camp Lejeune for two years.$$Uh huh.$$Alright.$$There's a lot in that story, though. This is--are you familiar with command screening at all? Heard of that? Most of the services, the [U.S.] Army's had it a lot longer than the [U.S.] Marine Corps had. But in order to become a commander, particularly at the lieutenant colonel level, most services--the [U.S.] Navy, the Army--now the Marine Corps, the [U.S.] Air Force--have a screening process that's held out of the local command. And they look at your records and your reputation and what you've done. And they say "Okay, here's a person. We're going to select you." And they have a board that convenes, not a statutory board, but a board. At that time, it was no command screening process in the Marine Corps. And so, selection of commanders was pretty much--it was parochial, pretty much. It was done by the local commander. "I want this person to be my commander." And there could be pros and cons, whatever way. And so, when I was at [Camp] Lejeune, I went in as a major, a senior major, XO [executive officer] of an infantry battalion. And that's a very critical time. Because right then, as I was selected for lieutenant colonel, the argument that some have made in my absence has been that I should have been afforded the opportunity to become an infantry battalion commander. I remember that. That was one of the things I said I wanted to do right from the very beginning. And I wasn't. And so, when I left Lejeune to follow my orders and go to Parris Island, South Carolina--General Glasgow, who was actually the division commander in Okinawa [Japan] the last time I was there--was then the CG, the commanding general of Parris Island, South Carolina Marine Corps Recruit Depot. I checked in, and General Glasgow was not very happy that I wasn't afforded the opportunity to command an infantry battalion. He said, "You should have been." And he said, "But we're going to right that. We're going to ensure that you command a battalion here." And so, he said, "You'll start out as the inspector until a battalion opens up, and then I want you to become our first Recruit Training Battalion Commander." Then I came out of the top level schools list. This is where the unusual stuff comes in. I was the only person out of all the lieutenant colonels there--there were quite a few who was selected for a top level school. And so, General Glasgow called me back in and said, "Some people aren't going to be happy about this, but I'm going to put you in command of the battalion immediately. So, prepare to take command, so that you can at least have this done before you go to school. And you will go to school, you should go to school. You've been selected for school." So, he did that. But when he did that, the regimental commander wasn't happy, but he couldn't do anything. The regimental commander was a colonel. I was a lieutenant colonel. So, the general puts me in command. I take command, the first time a black is now in charge of a command at Parris Island. It's a battalion. General Glasgow retires. At the retirement ceremony you know kind of what's coming. General Glasgow is retiring. General Hore (ph.), another general, he comes in and he's taking over. Colonel Ogle (ph.), as soon as the Chain of Command Ceremony is over, Glasgow leaves. I go to my office. The colonel comes over to my office, sits down, looks at me and says, "Your sugar daddy is gone. Your 'blank' belongs to me." And I'll never forget that. And I said, "Alright, Sir, I'm going to still serve. I'm going to do my job to the best of my ability." And that was it. And so, I went home and told my wife [Rosalyn H. Stanley]. I said, "I think my career is about shot here. I'm just going to go ahead and kind of (laughter)--." That was one of the times I said that. And to make a long story short, fortunately General Hore (ph) also kind of knew not only my record, but also my reputation. And he just sort of hovered, and didn't allow certain things to happen. And there were a group of colonels that were peers of the other colonel, who also knew me. One happened to be, had been stationed at the [U.S.] Naval Academy when I was up in that area. He also knew me. And so, they didn't allow it to happen. So, I was blessed. I was very fortunate. But it was close, in terms of--. And he didn't do me any favors, but he didn't kill me. And so, as a result--much like what Colin Powell said in his book if you've read it--you know, I got fortunate. Because I was fortunate because of just people watching out for me, you know. And those were white officers. You know, these were seniors, you know. But the bottom line was that there was still a lot of contention. Those things didn't go away over the years. In fact, they got harder the more senior I got. The junior--what I dealt with was as a junior officer, a lot of applause. Once I made major, things started getting a little heavy. And they got heavier, the more senior I got. You know, I can't say, you know, I'm--. But that's just kind of how it was.$$I guess it makes sense on some level.$$Uh huh, yeah. Yeah, so it got pretty heavy.$$But you did have people around you that--$$Oh, yeah.$$--that knew what you could do.$$Oh yeah, no question.$$Okay. So, now you're at Parris Island for, until 1987, right?$$Yeah, just a year.$$Okay.

Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr.

Aerospace engineer and major general (ret.) Charles F. Bolden, Jr. was born on August 19, 1946 in Columbia, South Carolina. He graduated from C.A. Johnson High School in 1964. Both of his parents, Charles and Ethel Bolden, were teachers and stressed the importance of education. Bolden received his B.S. degree in electrical science from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968, and earned his M.S. degree in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1977. He then accepted a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps following graduation from the Naval Academy and underwent flight training at Pensacola, Florida, Meridian, Mississippi, and Kingsville, Texas.

Between June 1972 and June 1973, Bolden flew more than 100 combat missions into North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in the A-6A Intruder while stationed in Nam Phong, Thailand. After returning to the United States, Bolden served in a variety of positions in the Marine Corps. He was then assigned to the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, where he completed his training in 1979. While working at the Naval Air Test Center’s Systems Engineering and Strike Aircraft Test Directorates, he tested a variety of ground attack aircraft until his selection as an astronaut candidate in 1980. Bolden’s NASA astronautical career included technical assignments. He served as pilot on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1986. In the wake of the Challenger disaster, he was assigned as the chief of the Safety Division. In 1990, he piloted the Space Shuttle Discovery during its mission to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope. Bolden served as the Mission Commander for Space Shuttle Atlantis in 1992 and the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1994. He logged more than 680 hours during these four flights. Bolden left NASA and returned to the U.S. Marine Corps in 1997, and was assigned as the Deputy Commandment of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy. During Operation Desert Thunder-Kuwait in 1998, he was assigned as the Commanding General of the Marine Expeditionary Force. He was promoted to Major General in 1998. In 2003, Bolden retired from the Marine Corps and served as president of the American PureTex Water Corporation. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Bolden as the top NASA administrator, making him the second astronaut and the first African American to serve in this position.

Bolden’s military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. NASA awarded him the Exceptional Service Award in 1988, 1989, and 1991. In May of 2006, he was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Bolden and his wife, Alexis Walker, live in Alexandria, Virginia. They have two children: U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Anthony Bolden, and Michelle Bolden, M.D.
Charles Bolden was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 28, 2012 and February 3, 2017/

Accession Number

A2012.229

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/28/2012 |and| 2/3/2017

Last Name

Bolden

Maker Category
Middle Name

F.

Schools

United States Naval Academy

University of Southern California

C. A. Johnson High School

Naval Air Test Center

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Columbia

HM ID

BOL03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Japan

Favorite Quote

Do The Best You Can.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/19/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Aerospace engineer and major general Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. (1946 - ) served in the United States Marine Corps and was a pioneering astronaut with NASA, where he also served as administrator.

Employment

United States Marine Corps

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

American PureTex Water Corporation

TechTrans International Corporation

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden. Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his mother's Episcopal upbringing, and her career path

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. reflects on his similarities to his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about Charles Drew

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his brother and their childhood home

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the neighborhood where he grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the house where he grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. continues to describe the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his earliest encounters with math and science

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his earliest memories of watching sports on television

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls his favorite science program on television

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his experience in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his earliest memories of the civil rights movement

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls his experiences with segregation

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. shares his memories as a high school football player

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes experiencing segregation as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his interest in the U.S. Naval Academy and the Marine Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his high school achievements

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his experience at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the influence of his mentor at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the academic rigors at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the tension following Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the influences that shaped his decision to join the Marine Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes serving in the Vietnam War

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the A-6 Intruder attack aircraft and A-6 missions

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. discusses the new rules of war

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his thoughts on being an astronaut

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls 1969, when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the time during and after the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. obtains his master's degree at the University of Southern California

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes how he became a test pilot with the Marine Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes Dr. Ronald McNair's role in wanting to be an astronaut

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the first African American astronauts in space

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his acceptance into NASA's Space Program in 1980

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his early days at NASA

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. discusses America's waning interest in space

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his first project at NASA

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes preparing for his first mission into space

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes being aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr.'s interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers seeing Earth for the first time from space

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes how he came to join the NASA space flight program

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. lists the crew aboard the STS-61-C mission

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the various roles aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the reasons for Space Shuttle Columbia's extended flight

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the landing procedures of the Space Shuttle Columbia

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers NASA mathematician Katherine G. Johnson

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the debriefing process following a space flight

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the causes of the Space Shuttle Challenger's failure

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers the crew lost aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his position as chief of the Safety Division at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers his second space mission to launch the Hubble Space Telescope

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the Hubble Space Telescope

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the different views of space

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes NASA's Shuttle Transportation System

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his flight aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls the experiments aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his position as the assistant deputy administrator of NASA Headquarters

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers the members of the Congressional Black Caucus

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers his Russian crew mates aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1994

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the Russian space program

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the scientific experiments aboard STS-60

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls an incident aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the influence of the Russian space program upon NASA

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers travelling to Belgium and Russia

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his return to the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his promotions and various positions within the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about Operation Desert Thunder

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the U.S. military actions leading to the Iraq War

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the Iraq War

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the regime of Josip Broz Tito in Yugoslavia

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the highest ranking African Americans within the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his positions immediately following his retirement

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the creation of Jack and Panther LLC

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls his presidential appointment to NASA administrator

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the support of NASA within the U.S. government

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the debates concerning global warming

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his goals and objectives as NASA administrator

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the need for diversity within NASA

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. shares his hopes for the future of NASA

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. reflects upon the state of STEM education in the United States

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the effects of space travel

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. shares his advice for younger generations

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his family

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. shares the advice he received from Robert L. Gibson

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

7$10

DATitle
Charles Bolden recalls his experiences with segregation
Charles Bolden describes being aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia
Transcript
Okay. Now do you remember segregation vividly--$$Very well, yeah.$$--in growing up?$$Yeah, that was all I knew.$$Yeah, well, what was it like going into downtown Columbia--$$I've--it was okay 'cause you knew where you, you knew where you could go and where you couldn't. And you knew where you better not go. And, and so you just kind of governed your life that way. It was, in many ways it was a lot easier than when I got to the Naval Academy where, you know, Baltimore and other places were recently integrated to be quite honest, but they weren't. And so even then there was de facto segregation. And you could really get yourself in, in, in a bad way going into some places in and around Annapolis, for example, and not know that you weren't supposed to be in there. You went in there because that's where all the other midshipmen went. But they made it very clear when you came in that, you know, you were not welcome. And that, that lasted all the way--I graduated in 1968. And I remember one of the, the worst experiences I had at the Naval Academy was, was just before my graduation when we were told we couldn't--there were, there were three of us, three, three of my friends got in--Buddy Clark, who turned out to be my best man in my wedding and was from Chicago; Frank Simmons, who was from Birmingham, Bessemer, Alabama; and, and me. And we went into a, a place in, on the outskirts of Annapolis in Maryland and, and we were told that they wouldn't serve us, that, you know, we had to go around the back. And we, we were not inclined to do that so we (chuckle), we, we finally left after some time. But it was not, it was not nice, yeah. So I, I've, I remember segregation very, very, very vividly, yeah.$Alright. Now, okay, as you were ready to fly then this is, this is January you said of '86 [1986]?$$When I flew?$$Yeah.$$It was January--well, we started in December. We were scheduled to fly in December. And we went to the launch pad--I can't remember the date. But we got down to fourteen seconds, no, no, no, yeah, we got down to fourteen seconds and, and the system aborted because it detected a, some problem in the right-hand side rocket booster. And they, they didn't know whether it was real or not. And so it, it was in the hydraulic power unit that, that moves the nozzles around. And so they decided that we would scrub for the day. And as they got into it, they realized they had to get in and actually change out a box. And so that caused us to slip completely through the Christmas holidays and into the new year. So then we came back, I want to say we came back down on the 3rd of January and attempted to launch and didn't. We got down to thirty-one seconds and didn't get off because we had a problem with one of the main engines. Then the next time we went out we got down to thirty-one seconds and this time not only did we, did--well we had problems with a, with a main engine valve and it wouldn't close properly. And when they, when they did the troubleshooting after we got out of the vehicle and it turned out as they were detanking the time before a, a thermal probe had broken off. And it jammed one of the, one of the valves. So, turned out to be a good day not to fly because couple of things could have happened, the, the worse being the back end of the shuttle would have blown off because it would have gotten an uncontrolled shutdown because the valve couldn't close carrying the liquid oxygen, liquid oxygen. And the motor, the engine would have over spun and (indicates explosion)! So, so it was a good thing we didn't fly that day. Then the fourth time we went out, we, we laid out there on our backs for two hours in a thunder storm, in a driving thunderstorm with lightening and stuff going on. And we finally talked our way out of the vehicle. We, we started talking among ourselves and--because we knew the flight surgeon was listening in on the, on the intercom. And so we started talking about being worried about getting hit by lightening, laying out there on the metal, on, on top of four million pounds of propellant. So they finally said, okay, we're gonna scrub for the day, and they came and got us. And, and then the next day we went out, which was the 12th of January--flawless. Everything, I mean, everything went like clockwork. And we launched and then came back. Originally we were only gonna fly four days and then the weather at, at the Kennedy Space Center [on Merritt Island, Florida] just kept getting worse and worse and worse. So, so we got an extra three days tacked on. So we ended up with a seven-day mission, but we landed in the middle of the night out at Edwards Air Force Base [in East Kern, California] because the weather just never improved at, at Kennedy [Space Center]. And so that was the 18th of January and in--$$Now what was the flight like? I mean, what--$$It was awesome. I mean it was, you know, my first time in space. Just getting, just getting yourself adapted to being weightless and moving around and, and, and that kind of stuff. And then we had a lot of work to do. We had a lot of, we had a lot of very small experiments plus we had, we had one satellite, one RCA satellite, communication satellite called SATCOM KU-3, KU-2, that serves today. It's a, it's a KU band satellite that's used to get television imagery down. I think it had--HBO was one of the channels it was gonna be on this particular satellite. And then we did a lot of medical experiments, which I enjoyed quite a bit. And then we had the infrared imaging camera on that, that I got a chance to play with quite a bit with Bob Cenker.$$Okay.$$And then, you know, we landed, like I said, on the 18th of January. And we're in the closing phases of our debrief on--what was to have been the last day of our debrief we were sitting in, in, in a debriefing room at, at the Johnson Space Center when we took a break to go watch Challenger launch. And, and seventy-three in sec-, seventy-three seconds in the flight it just disintegrated. And so life changed after that.

Maj. Gen. Nathaniel James

Military Officer Nathaniel James is the former commanding General of the New York Army National Guard. Born on July 28, 1935, in the Branchville, South Carolina, his family migrated north to New York City during his childhood. James received early schooling in the New York City Public School system, and attended Theodore Roosevelt High School before graduating from Bronx Vocational High School. James then enrolled at the State University of New York, earning his A.A. degree in business and his B.A. degree in political science. After completing the ROTC training in college and subsequent two years of enlisted service, James was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1959, through the Army Artillery and Missile School.

During his 33 year career, James held a variety of positions and continued to develop his institutional knowledge of Army command, operations and strategy. James’ military education includes the Army Artillery and Missile School; Army Transportation School; Army Command and General Staff College; Army War College; and the National Interagency Counter Drugs Institute. In 1975, James became the commander for the 369th Transportation Battalion, 42nd Division Artillery and 42nd Division Support Command. Between 1988 and 1992, he served as the assistant adjutant general, Headquarters State Area Command, New York Army National Guard. Promoted to Major General on December 29, 1992, James became the first African American to obtain that rank in the history of the New York Army National Guard.

In addition to previously commanding the 369th Transportation Battalion James is the founder and president of both the 369th Veteran’s Association, Inc. and the 369th Historical Society, Inc. The 369th Regiment was originally called the 15th New York Infantry and they were the first African American regiment to engage in combat during World War II. After the war, 171 soldiers in that regiment were awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French Government, and German soldiers gave them the name, “Harlem Hell Fighters,” for the courage and valor they displayed in battle. James maintains hundreds of photographs and dozens of artifacts, papers, and other items to honor the legacy of the 369th Regiment.

James’ military decorations and awards include, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Medal, and the New York Humanitarian Service Medal.

Nathaniel James was interviewed by the The HistoryMakers on August 1, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.200

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/31/2012

Last Name

James

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Fordham University

State University of New York at Albany

Bronx Regional High School

Army Command and General Staff College

U.S. Army War College

U.S. Army Transportation School

U.S. Army Field Artillery School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Nathaniel

Birth City, State, Country

Branchville

HM ID

JAM05

Favorite Season

July

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

7/28/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Major general Maj. Gen. Nathaniel James (1935 - ) the first African American obtain that rank of Major General in the New York Army National Guard, is the founder and president of both the 369th Historical Society and the 369th Veterans Association.

Employment

New York Army National Guard

369th Veterans' Association

New York City Transit Authority

New York Bell Telephone Company

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:693,12:2310,37:3157,54:14160,205:15840,223:19767,320:41296,578:45062,631:46455,656:50343,728:63880,975:64370,984:91820,1380:95002,1506:95890,1521:103046,1661:110438,1753:122770,1850$0,0:800,19:2100,45:31417,374:68110,920:68920,931:69730,1003:74410,1217:99468,1526:110722,1682:120395,1802:127450,1927:213446,2906:214166,2974:223528,3125:300934,4092:305470,4167:324070,4477:329550,4628:342280,4791:357290,5183
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Nathaniel James' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James describes the hard life of working on the railroad

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James tells the story of his father's arrival in New York

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James discusses his father's aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Nathaniel James tells how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Nathaniel James describes his parents' personalities and talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Nathaniel James describes his earliest childhood memories pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Nathaniel James describes his earliest childhood memories pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James describes his elementary school experience in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James describes his childhood in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James talks about his favorite subject and teachers in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James describes his elementary school's student health inspection

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James discusses his family's move from Brooklyn to the Bronx and an incident that happened to him in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James describes his experience attending a predominantly white school and compares it to his previous school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James describes his childhood hobbies and his interest in engineering

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Nathaniel James recalls his first job and his high school experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James talks about his childhood and youth

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James describes his enlistment in the New York Army National Guard's 369th Infantry Regiment pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James describes his enlistment in the New York Army National Guard's 369th Infantry Regiment pt.2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James talks about race relations in the U. S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James describes his role as a Graves Registration Specialist in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James discusses his military and civilian work

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James talks about meeting his wife and continuing his education

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James discusses his computer science coursework at Fordham University in the Bronx

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James talks about his interest in becoming a General

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James describes the formation and advocacy efforts of the Black Officers Association pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James describes his rise to the rank of Major General

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James describes becoming commander of the 369th Infantry Regiment

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James talks about becoming the first African American commander of the 42nd Division Artillery

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James details his various promotions

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James describes the formation and advocacy efforts of the Black Officers Association pt.2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James describes his duties as a Two-Star General

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Nathaniel James talks about having to fire an ineffective Battalion Commander pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Nathaniel James talks about having to fire an ineffective Battalion Commander pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James discusses people's reactions to him being an African American Two-Star General in the New York Army National Guard

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James talks about his career as a Two-Star General in the New York Army National Guard

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James talks about an officer in the 369th Infantry Regiment who refused to fight in the Iraqi War

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James discusses the creation of the 369th Infantry Regiment Historical Society pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James discusses the creation of the 369th Infantry Regiment Historical Society pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James talks about the erection of the monument in France honoring the 369th Infantry Regiment's efforts during World War I

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James talks about the creation of a duplicate monument in honor of the 369th Infantry Regiment in New York City pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James talks about the creation of a duplicate monument in honor of the 369th Infantry Regiment in New York City pt.2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James describes the move of the second 369th Infantry Regiment monument from Germany to the United States pt.1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James discusses development and programs at the 369th Infantry Regiment Historical Society, as well as the infantry's monument dedication

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James reminisces about his late friend, William Miles and the 369th Regiment's portrayal in movies

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James talks about his family and how he would like to be remembered

DASession

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DATitle
Nathaniel James describes his childhood in New York City
Nathaniel James discusses the creation of the 369th Infantry Regiment Historical Society pt.2
Transcript
Okay. Now, what was your--were your schools--. Now, you're in Harlem, right, in a--?$$I was in Harlem.$$This is Harlem. So most of your classmates were black, I guess.$$Well, then it was--it wasn't all black then. It's just, like, the middle the Harlem where, I guess was black, but naturally, as a kid, I didn't go from level to level. I could only be right there in the street. We lived on Edgecombe Avenue. And then from Edgecombe Avenue we moved to Brooklyn to Gates Avenue. And I can remember Gates Avenue and it was a--Gates and Tompkins. That's when the war was going on, and that's where I saw like they delivered fish. Well, they didn't have a lot of ice trucks then, so what they did is, they delivered fish fresh. So the fish truck would come like a tanker truck, and they would scoop down with a big net, and take the fish out, and take them into the fish market. So you know you're getting fresh fish, they swimming right there in the tank. I guess that was amazing to me to watch them dip down and get all these fish out and put them in a basket and take them into the fish market. And I could sit in the window and watch the trucks come and deliver the bread and whatnot. And occasionally, my oldest sisters and brothers would take us downstairs to play in front of the stoop. And they had a movie, the Tompkins was on the corner. And I could down that far and could look at, you know, they put the pictures of what's playing on the inside. They'd put little scenes on the still pictures outside, and that's as far as I got. If I got ice cream, I think, ice cream, they told me, was three cents. So, I could get a cone of ice cream, which I very rarely got for three cents.$$It's unbelievable--$$Yeah.$$--now to think that you could get that for three cents.$$I guess a dollar now is like three cents then (laughs).$Now, what year was this when you formed it?$$This is in 1960, I guess.$$Okay.$$Let's revise that. 1959; about 1960.$$Okay.$$'Cause he says--we worked on that for--'til 1961, I can remember that, and we had our first viewers to come through. We had a little tour to come through and look at all the memorabilia. And we went through what the thing was about, and who these officers were, and all the different things that was in there. And it sort of caught on. People wanted to know more about it. So we're still confined to this little room. So, but they won't give us anymore space in the Amory. So we'll have to do the best that we can. So, we worked on fixing the room up, and taking all the phernalia (sic) and stuff out and putting the into categories, and try to organize it to something that we'll know where it's at when we need it. So, little by little, Bill Miles now decides that he's got enough of this stuff that he can make a film out of it. So he comes to me and he asks me to write a letter on behalf of the battalion, that he could go to the National Archives and get the footage of the 369th [Infantry Regiment]. Now, if you saw the "Men of Bronze," that footage in there is the footage that he got from the National Archives. So we wrote--now, normally if you go to the National Archives, you have to pay for the footage. But, if you go there as one of the historical units, you get it free, 'cause it's you. So, anyway, he was allowed to get all of this footage free. So, he was able to do that, and he got the film, and then he decided to do interviews and whatnot. And he did a lot of interviews, you know, like the little redheaded gentleman that was here, I met him. Now, he's in the film, and he was an actual 369er. Actually, I met a number of real 369er's that was in the World War I, but since them they have all passed away, so, you can't talk to any of them at this point. But that was the beginning. And then, as time went on, we wanted to expand. But we never got permission to expand it. So little by little, as I rose in rank, eventually, I got to be the Commander. When I got to be the Commander, then I had control over everything. So, I said, "Well, we can expand this out." And I told him to put things out I the lounges. So what we do is expand it into the lounge, and we collect this stuff up and put it back in the library. So it was an on and on, put up displays and take them down. So, as time went on, I spoke to this guy, William DeFossett. He was the president of the Veterans' Association there. He was a treasury officer. And knowing him and what he could do opened a lot of doors just by him being the treasurer officer. So, we used to help him, have him help us do a lot of things. So he says to me one day, "You know, you got committee on the end of this thing, 369th Historical Committee. That sounds awful small." He said, "Why don't you make it the 369th Historical Society, and then it's a bigger thing." I said, "That makes sense." So I changed it to 369th Historical Society. And then we decided to get a charter. So, we worked that, getting a charter. We got the charter, and then from the charter we had to go and get the 501(c)(3) status. We worked at getting the 501(c)(3) status. We got that. And that's the beginning of the 369th Historical Society. And--$$Now, what--yeah. I'm sorry. What year is this?$$And then, as time went on, I got to be the Army Commander. And then after I was the Army Commander, I came back here. They needed the space in the second floor library for a classroom. So I convinced them to give all the space on the walls in this lower area and upstairs to the exclusive use of the Society that no Commander can say what would go up there. That the Society would say what goes up and what takes down (sic). And I went through the Adjutant Generals' office and they gave approval. And so, we expanded everything outside to the different corridors. And that's the way it is today. And that's how the Society is now. The Society itself collects anybody that is interested in preserving history. And so, we have a lot of people that are not military. Anybody that wants to join can join for a fee of $25 as a yearly fee. If they want to be a life member, it's $300. So we got a lot of people to join in for life members, and a lot of people that do annual membership. So, the annual membership is the blood that keeps money coming in that you can do your administrative stuff. But it's nothing big. We try to get a couple of grants here and there. We've managed to get a few grants from the government through our representatives and whatnot. But it--as the budget dries up, that dries up also. So, we've been able to keep those things going. Then when we got to the point that we wanted to expand into the streets, we decided that we should be a monument up in France where the 369th fought, because we had the opportunity to go there, and there weren't no monuments to the 369th [Infantry Regiment], even in the town of Sechault.$$How do you spell that?$$Sechault? S-H-E-A-C-H-T-L (sic), I think it is, A-L-T, chalt.$$Okay. Okay.$$

Maj. Gen. Alfred Flowers

Major General Alfred K. Flowers was born on December 29, 1947 in Kinston, North Carolina to Annie Miller, a chef and Monroe Flowers, an industrial worker. He was raised by his grandparents who instilled in him a foundation of morals, ethical values and integrity. Flowers graduated from Jones High School in 1965 and enlisted in the United States Air Force at the age of seventeen.

After completing basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base (AFB) in San Antonio, Texas, Flowers was assigned as a supply warehouseman at Grand Forks AFB in North Dakota. In 1967, he served as an air transportation specialist in Da Nang AB, Vietnam. Two years later, Flowers was reassigned to Norton AFB in California, where he met his wife, Ida, who was also serving in the Air Force. After they married, she was transferred to Clark AFB in the Philippines and Flowers secured a joint-spousal assignment to be with her. In 1971, he was appointed to accounting specialist and served seven years in this position. Flowers received his A.A. degree from Thomas Edison University and his B.S. degree from Southern Illinois University. He earned his M.A. degree in 1976 from Ball State University. In 1978, he attended officer training school at the Medina Annex, Lackland AFB and was then commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. He served as a budget officer at several Air Force bases before receiving his M.S. degree from Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1994. Flowers served as Chief of Budget at Headquarters ACC on Langley AFB and in1999, he served as director of Budget Programs for the Department of the Air Force. Flowers served as commander of the Air Force Officer Accession and Training Schools at Air University on Maxwell AFB and commander of the Second Air Force on Keesler AFB. In 2009, he was appointed as the deputy assistant secretary of budget in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller in Washington, D.C. In 2012, after forty-six years of service, Flowers retired from the United States Air Force, making him the longest-serving airman in Air Force history and the longest serving African American in the history of the United States Department of Defense.

Throughout Flowers’ long career with the United States Air Force, he received much recognition including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. Flowers served on the board of directors for the Army Air Force Exchange Service, the Air Force Aid Society and the Air Force Services Agency. Major General (R) Flowers was inducted into the Air Education And Training Command Order of The Sword on April 6, 2012, making him the 244th Air Force inductee since 1967. Flowers is married to Ida M. Flowers and they have one son, Lieutenant Colonel Alfred K. Flowers, Jr.

Alfred K. Flowers was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 28, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.148

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/28/2012

Last Name

Flowers

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

K.

Occupation
Schools

Phillips Crossroad Elementary School

Jones High School

Thomas Edison University

Southern Illinois University

Ball State University

National Defense College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Alfred

Birth City, State, Country

Kinston

HM ID

FLO02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chateau Elan North of Atlanta, Georgia

Favorite Quote

It is all about attitude.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

12/29/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

San Antonio

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Major general Maj. Gen. Alfred Flowers (1947 - ) served forty-six years in the United States Air Force and was the longest-serving airman in Air Force history when he retired in 2012.

Employment

United States Air Force

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:12360,151:14460,179:16660,214:28040,309:28592,316:28960,321:32500,364:34540,407:38705,488:41425,523:47106,568:51741,623:76351,962:91956,1194:92579,1202:95249,1251:96228,1263:97830,1287:103160,1335:104200,1351:104600,1358:105000,1367:105800,1378:107000,1407:121228,1622:121900,1633:124840,1679:125176,1684:127276,1720:128032,1733:129040,1748:138606,1836:155090,2014:157700,2051:164540,2150:165800,2167:167510,2198:167960,2212:175570,2287:178530,2334:179330,2354:194660,2512$0,0:1014,14:4966,57:5270,62:5878,81:10058,149:11958,177:12566,186:15650,195:17198,228:17714,236:24908,307:28821,376:29640,391:30459,402:32552,415:33553,428:40014,487:40651,495:42198,509:45019,527:49062,557:49454,562:51022,583:52492,606:53962,618:54746,628:59548,680:59940,685:60528,692:61606,704:63882,740:75810,898:83058,974:86499,1013:87894,1036:88917,1060:91614,1092:92172,1099:98305,1167:99280,1183:99655,1189:100330,1200:102056,1211:102421,1217:103078,1228:103443,1234:103954,1243:104246,1248:105195,1265:106217,1282:106582,1292:108553,1327:108991,1334:109648,1350:110086,1358:112641,1397:112933,1402:124509,1511:125399,1522:126734,1543:129910,1549:130630,1559:132070,1573:133670,1596:134630,1609:136470,1632:138070,1670:140790,1714:146056,1746:146501,1753:147391,1764:148637,1785:149438,1795:156267,1824:157653,1851:158049,1856:161800,1894:162190,1900:164296,1935:164842,1944:165388,1952:165778,1958:166402,1967:184470,2174:185002,2182:185610,2192:186142,2200:187510,2221:189638,2236:192298,2271:192678,2277:196045,2287:199700,2328:201060,2347:202335,2371:203100,2382:203525,2388:212560,2535:213310,2546:221500,2647
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alfred Flowers' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alfred Flowers lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alfred Flowers describes his mother's family background, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alfred Flowers describes his mother's family background, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alfred Flowers talks about his mother and maternal grandparents, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alfred Flowers talks about his mother and maternal grandparents, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alfred Flowers describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alfred Flowers discusses his parents and half siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alfred Flowers discusses his likeness to his grandparents and visiting his mother's home in North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alfred Flowers describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alfred Flowers describes his earliest childhood memory and recalls the treatment of sharecroppers in North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alfred Flowers describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alfred Flowers describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alfred Flowers discusses the death of his maternal grandfather and his decision to join the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alfred Flowers describes his experience as a sharecropper on the Phillips' farm in North Carolina, pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alfred Flowers describes his experience as a sharecropper on the Phillips' farm in North Carolina pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alfred Flowers describes living on the Phillips' land in North Carolina with his grandparents, pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alfred Flowers describes living on the Phillips' land in North Carolina with his grandparents pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Alfred Flowers remarks on his experience in elementary school and attending racially segregated schools

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Alfred Flowers discusses one of his favorite teachers and his early interest in arithmetic and mathematics

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alfred Flowers describes his high school experiences and teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alfred Flowers discusses his extracurricular high school activities and job as a school bus driver

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alfred Flowers discusses his graduation from high school and interest in joining the military

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alfred Flowers talks about attending church as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alfred Flowers discusses his childhood and growing up poor

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alfred Flowers talks about his decision to join the military

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alfred Flowers describes his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Alfred Flowers describes working as a supply warehouseman in Grand Forks, North Dakota

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Alfred Flowers talks about his duties in air transportation during the Vietnam War

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Alfred Flowers discusses the "Tet Offensive" and other aspects of the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alfred Flowers talks about his return to the U.S. and continuing his service with the Air Force

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alfred Flowers describes how he met his wife, Ida Hill Flowers

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alfred Flowers discusses being married, while serving in the Air Force

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alfred Flowers describes his college education and earning his bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alfred Flowers talks about his son and teaching him the value of a good education

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alfred Flowers describes his experience living and studying in Crete, Greece

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alfred Flowers talks about his admission into the U.S. Air Force's Officer Training School after being rejected three times

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Alfred Flowers speaks about the differences between enlisted military and a military officer, and earning his second master's degree

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Alfred Flowers discusses his marriage and military life

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alfred Flowers describes his experience as First Lieutenant at Tactical Air Command Headquarters in Langley, Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alfred Flowers discusses his work at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alfred Flowers recounts his career as a Major in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alfred Flowers describes his return to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama to work for the U.S. Air Force Accession Command

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alfred Flowers talks about serving as the Air Force Budget Director

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alfred Flowers comments on his career accomplishments and his retirement

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alfred Flowers reflects upon his legacy and comments on incidents of misuse of the U.S. Air Force budget

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Alfred Flowers shares stories about financial misconduct and budgetary spending

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Alfred Flowers explains his command philosophy and describes how 9/11 impacted communication between the various branches of the government

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Alfred Flowers discusses his views on race relations in 21st century America

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Alfred Flowers talks about some famous African American military servicemen

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Alfred Flowers talks about his family and former classmates

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Alfred Flowers talks about his son

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Alfred Flowers describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Alfred Flowers comments on having respect for the elderly and talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Alfred Flowers describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

7$4

DATitle
Alfred Flowers describes living on the Phillips' land in North Carolina with his grandparents, pt.1
Alfred Flowers describes his return to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama to work for the U.S. Air Force Accession Command
Transcript
So, now, did you have--when you were a kid, did you have any carefree time to roam the woods or to do, you know--$$Not very much. You know, I started working like an adult at 10 years old on the farm and going to school. One of the things that my grandparents impressed upon me was that, "You were going to finish high school. We couldn't afford to send you to college, but you were going to finish high school." And I recall, you know, we, my grandparents, when they would get a few dollars, we--I told you, we raised chickens and hogs, and the hogs we used were primarily for the meat. We would kill hogs every year usually in December or January when it got cold. You kill the hogs, and then we had an old smokehouse and, you know, we fry out the fat and made our own grease. It was called lard, and that's what we cooked with and, you know, that's why we all have hypertension. We cook with the lard, and then we would take the meat, and my granddad will cut it up and hang it in the smokehouse, and they would smoke it. So we'd make our own bacon, our own ham, our own sausage, everything. Smoke that stuff, and that's what we would eat on during the year. The chickens that we raised, they would lay eggs, the chickens would. And my grandmother would sell the eggs for fish. That old fish man would come buy twice a week, and she'd sell a dozen of eggs for a dollar and 25 cents, and buy five pounds of fish. It was really bartering; it was trading one good for another. And that's how we got the fish most of the time, except during the summer when my grandfather was selling corn, tobacco, and he'd have a few dollars. Then sometimes he would stop by the fish market on the way back home after a sale and buy five pounds of fish for a dollar and a half or whatever the type of fish cost. But most of the things that we ate we grew ourselves in the garden or our hogs or chickens. Occasionally, we go hunting or somebody would kill rabbits or catch rabbits and we'd have rabbit. You'd go fishing with a net called "shadding" during the spring, and we'd catch shad, and that would be a delicacy because shad, the eggs in the female shad were called roes. They called them roses (sic). Actually, it was caviar and we didn't know it (laughs). So, we had caviar early in life and weren't smart enough to know that we were eating fish eggs. I thought it was great. But that was another means of survival with fish. When we couldn't afford to buy it, we'd try to catch it. But, it's--.$Then I got an opportunity unlike any financial guy could ever expect. I got the opportunity to go to Maxwell in Command, the Accession Command, Air Force Officer Accession and Training Schools, which I had the Officer Training School, which I had been a member of in 1978. It was now moved to Maxwell Air Force Base, though I had the Officer Training School, had all of Air Force R.O.T.C. across the country, 144 colleges and universities where we had R.O.T.C. and 980 or so crosstown schools that fed into those 144 primary schools for R.O.T.C., and 869 high schools where we had Junior R.O.T.C. in the U.S. and 14 overseas, with a total of student population of about 115,000 high school students in Junior R.O.T.C. The opportunity to command that and impact the officer force that we were bringing into the Air Force, about 530 a year out of O.T.S., and about 1100 from R.O.T.C. that we were bringing in officers each year; and then that 115,000 students that we were teaching how to be citizens in a great citizenship program in Junior R.O.T.C. It was just awesome. I don't--I think that's probably one of the jobs that I've had, one of the opportunities to impact the most lives across the country of young adults and young folks in high school, that our objective was to make them better citizens as they grew up to become adults. It was just an awesome responsibility, and one that I will cherish all my life.$$Did that for about a year and a half, and then I got the opportunity to go command the Second Air Force. And I am the first financial person in the history of our finance community to command a numbered Air Force. No one else in the controller community has ever commanded a numbered Air Force. To go command Second Air Force, Second Air Force was all of the training, technical, nontechnical, all that; the R.O.T.C. and all that stuff. If it was training other than Pilot Training, it fell under Second Air Force to include Basic Training where I started. So I had the opportunity to back to Lackland Air Force Base frequently and observe and to tweak as we needed to; Basic Training, all of the Technical Training other than Pilot Training, to include Space and Missile Training for the Air Force. We ran about 40,000 a day on Lackland Air Force Base, and some 2,500 courses a year that we taught Technical Training around the world as the Second Air Force Commander, another awesome responsibility.$$That's when you were in Mississippi, right?$$That's when I was in Mississippi, the Headquarters of the Second Air Force.$$This was in 2008--starts with 2008?$$Yes, sir. From 2008. May of 2008 to September of 2009.

Maj. Gen. Marcelite Harris

Major General Marcelite J. Harris was born in Houston, Texas on January 16, 1943 to Cecil O’Neal Jordan and Marcelite Terrell Jordan, Sr. Harris graduated from Kashmere Gardens High School before attending Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1960. After graduating from Spelman with her B.A. degree in speech and drama in 1964, Harris enrolled at Lackland Air Force Base for military training and then joined the Women in the Air Force (WAF) program. She also earned her B.S. degree in business management from the University of Maryland.

Harris enrolled in an Aircraft Maintenance Officer Course at Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois in 1970. One year later, Harris was named a maintenance supervisor for the 49th Tactical Fighter Squadron at the Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand. She successively held the positions of job control officer and field maintenance supervisor at the 916th Air Refueling Squadron at Travis Air Force Base in California. In 1975, Harris was named personnel staff officer and White House social aide under the Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter presidential administrations before becoming an air officer commanding for the Cadet Squadron 39 at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Harris then served as the maintenance control officer for the 384th Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas. She was the first woman to hold the post of commander of the 384th Avionics Maintenance Squadron at the McConnell Air Force Base in 1981 before assuming the role of commander for the 384th Field Maintenance Squadron. In 1982, Harris was named the director of maintenance at the Pacific Air Forces Logistic Support Center at Kadena Air Base in Japan. Four years later, she became deputy commander for maintenance at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. Harris was the first women to hold the positions in those just listed.

In 1990, Harris took the position of vice commander for the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base and later became the director of technical training at the Air Education and Training Command Headquarters at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas. In 1994, Harris was named director of maintenance at the U.S. Air Force Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Before retiring from the Air Force, Harris helped to establish a permanent office for the Committee on Women in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), within its military committee.

Harris’s tenure with the Air Force saw her rise from the rank of Second Lieutenant in 1965 to Major General thirty years later, becoming the first ever African American Female General.
Harris joined the United States Alliance as Director of Operations Support and Logistics Processes in 1999. She also served a brief time as the chief of staff for New York Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein. In 2010, Harris was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as a member of the Board of Visitors for the United States Air Force Academy. She has been featured in Ebony and was the recipient of the Trailblazer Award by the Black Girls Rock Foundation. Harris is listed in many Who’s Who publications.

Maj. Gen. Marcelite J. Harris was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 21, 2012.

Harris passed away on September 7, 2018.

Accession Number

A2012.074

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/21/2012

Last Name

Harris

Maker Category
Middle Name

J

Occupation
Schools

Spelman College

University of Maryland

Harvard Kennedy School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Marcelite

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

HAR33

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Let your reach far exceed your grasp.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

1/16/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Barbecue

Death Date

9/7/2018

Short Description

Major general Maj. Gen. Marcelite Harris (1943 - ) is the first African American woman ever to be named General in the United States Air Force and the first African American woman ever to become a Major General in the Department of Defense.

Employment

New York City Board of Education

United Space Alliance

United States Air Force

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:16324,173:26860,281:30976,393:31320,398:31664,403:47104,691:77490,1053:80834,1087:97581,1332:99525,1399:108272,1497:108667,1503:109220,1512:111748,1564:124693,1734:130796,1778:131363,1786:134117,1830:134603,1842:135332,1854:139058,1906:139382,1911:139868,1918:140435,1927:141002,1935:149934,2032:162310,2232:162590,2237:164340,2290:165320,2307:171480,2462:173510,2495:176170,2546:176870,2560:177990,2597:193200,2781:211120,2953:211570,2961:218416,3089:219824,3119:223650,3137:227210,3191$0,0:38130,508:73415,913:77648,1024:77980,1029:104260,1254:118450,1403:139250,1738:139700,1748:141906,1771:150244,1871:160430,1955
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marcelite Harris' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marcelite Harris lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marcelite Harris describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marcelite Harris talks about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marcelite Harris describes her maternal great-great grandfather's life as a slave and his success as a blacksmith as a free man

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marcelite Harris talks about her mother's growing up in Houston, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marcelite Harris describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marcelite Harris talks about her parents' education and their life in Houston, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Marcelite Harris talks about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Marcelite Harris talks about her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Marcelite Harris describes her likeness to her father and Pilgrim Congregational Church

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Marcelite Harris describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marcelite Harris describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marcelite Harris talks about her experience in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marcelite Harris talks about her personality and her interests as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marcelite Harris talks about her family's first television set

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marcelite Harris describes her experience in junior high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marcelite Harris talks about attending high school in Houston during the era of segregation, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marcelite Harris talks about attending high school in Houston during the era of segregation, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marcelite Harris talks about her favorite teacher in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marcelite Harris talks about her experience in high school and going to the senior prom

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marcelite Harris describes her extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marcelite Harris describes her decision to attend Spelman College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marcelite Harris talks about here experience at Spelman College

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marcelite Harris talks about majoring in speech and drama at Spelman College and President Kennedy's assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marcelite Harris discusses the Civil Rights Movement and her involvement in the Student Movement while attending Spelman College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marcelite Harris discusses the Civil Rights Movement and the Student Movement in Atlanta in the early 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marcelite Harris talks about Lonnie C. King, Jr., and reflects upon the problems faced by the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Marcelite Harris talks about looking for a job in theatre, law school, and becoming a teacher in the Head Start Program

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Marcelite Harris describes her decision to join the U.S. Air Force in 1965

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marcelite Harris describes her experience in officer training school at the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marcelite Harris talks about her assignment in the 60th Military Airlift Wing at Travis AFB

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marcelite Harris talks about her assignment at the 71st Tactical Mission Squadron at Bitburg Air Base in West Germany

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marcelite Harris talks about her experience as an African American and as a woman in the U.S. Air Force in the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marcelite Harris talks about being titled as 'Miss Zero Defects' at Bitburg Air Base in West Germany

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marcelite Harris talks about being assigned as a maintenance analysis officer and the role of women in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Marcelite Harris talks about her experience at maintenance officer school at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Marcelite Harris talks about her experience as maintenance supervisor for the 49th Tactical Fighter Squadron in Thailand

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marcelite Harris talks about having to fire a master sergeant

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marcelite Harris recalls handling a difficult situation concerning the inspection of ten F-4 planes

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marcelite Harris explains how on-the-job training helped develop her leadership skills

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marcelite Harris comments on the war in Vietnam

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marcelite Harris describes her experience as job control officer at Travis Air Force Base

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marcelite Harris talks about taking charge of the field maintenance squadron

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Marcelite Harris explains her supervisor's philosophy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Marcelite Harris talks about standards in the military that were aimed at blacks and their hair

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Marcelite Harris comments on the lack of recognition for black culture in the military

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Marcelite Harris talks about being a member of the Air Force Management Improvement Group

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Marcelite Harris talks about being a White House aide and being promoted to Major

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Marcelite Harris talks about her experience as Air Office Commanding at the Air Force Academy, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Marcelite Harris talks about her experience as Air Office Commanding at the Air Force Academy, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Marcelite Harris talks about her marriage to her husband

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Marcelite Harris describes her promotion to lieutenant colonel and the birth of her daughter

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Marcelite Harris talks about her performance reports and being commander of Pack Aff Aircraft Logistics

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Marcelite Harris talks about her assignment to Keesler Air Force Base in 1986

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Marcelite Harris talks about the publicity she and her family received after she was promoted to brigadier general

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Marcelite Harris discusses the roadblocks to her promotion as Major General

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Marcelite Harris discusses her participation in NATO's Committee on Women, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Marcelite Harris discusses her participation in NATO's Committee on Women, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Marcelite Harris talks about her retirement, her high blood pressure and the death of her husband

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Marcelite Harris discusses her post retirement activities, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Marcelite Harris discusses her post retirement activities, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Marcelite Harris talks about her political plans and activities

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Marcelite Harris describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Marcelite Harris talks about the burdens for minorities in the military and befriending Daniel "Chappie" James

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Marcelite Harris reflects upon her legacy and her regrets

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Marcelite Harris discusses her family and how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Marcelite Harris describes her photographs

DASession

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Marcelite Harris discusses her participation in NATO's Committee on Women, pt. 2
Marcelite Harris discusses the roadblocks to her promotion as Major General
Transcript
I went to NATO. I met quite a few people; especially African American and women officers. And I took my women officers to NATO with me, took Tenecia with me, and there in Brussels; sat around the table, and I kind of outlined what I wanted. I didn't fill in the middle, because that is what I wanted the committee to do, was to fill in the middle of it. So when we had the meeting in NATO that next year, that's what I had them do. I broke everybody up, and I let them decide, "which committee do you want to work on?" Well, the British girl, who wasn't even a part of the committee anymore, the colonel from Britain, was all upset with me because I had--she wanted to--she had a way that she wanted it to be, but she was no longer on the committee; I'm in charge. You know, we gone(sp) do it my way. She wrote this letter about how Britain is abstaining from everything, and the British don't like this, and the British--and she passed it out to everyone of my members. I was livid. I told her--I had a closed meeting. The meetings in NATO were open, and you could bring as many military folks or civilians, or what have you, in there. So I just had a closed meeting, and I talked to those young ladies, and was older than all of them; they were so young. All the other services have women who are so much, you know, that are new to this function of air force, and the Portuguese are probably the latest to come in in the utilization of women. So I talked to them, and I told them about what was happening, what was going on and about loyalty, and what we do here. Everyone of them said, we don't feel this way, you know, general, we don't feel this way. I said okay. So we organized that way. And I was concerned about the treatment that the American women receive from countries where NATO was located--NATO forces were located and from some of the countries that NATO--the NATO--the U.S. people would be working with. Some of those countries, women are still subservient, and not in the progressive position that we are in the United States. And the expectations for my women, the U.S. women, probably would be a lot higher. So what I did is I got the United States to establish a pay-for position in NATO that would look after--it's kind of like the Committee on Women in the air force, the services, WAF [Women in the Air Force] and the WAC [Women's Army Corps] and all of those kind of ser--of things. They would look at the issues that impacted the women in those various countries and see what can be done, and to work with the NATO senior officers there to see if they could do some influence. I got all kind of kudos from the commander there from NATO on what we had done as a committee and what I had done as a committee. Got to go to Turkey. That was--the Turkish finally had it--had the committee, and got to go there. My trip to Turkey, I was still in charge, for some reason, I was retired then, though, on my trip to Turkey. But the Service paid my way--brought me in and paid my way and everything, because I was still a (unclear) and took me back. And we finally led the U.S. Got another U.S. delegate in for the remainder of the conferences.$But I'm also a woman who has some unique demographics. My career was nontraditional career field for women, I'm African American, I'm a woman and I'm a general. So I was called to sit on so many promotion boards. So many promotions boards that when it came my time to go up for two stars, my boss knocked me down. Here I get started again with my boss knocking me down on my performance report. And he said, "I did that because I think you need to stay under me a year longer because they pull you away from so many things." And I told him, I said, "You just don't work the assignment system with the promotion system. If you wanted me a year longer, don't block my promotion--block my promotion to keep me there." Well, the next year had to be '93 (1993), yeah, had to be '93 (1993), I guess. Anyway, that year, he came again when I'm supposed to be rated for general, two-star general, and he calls the four star and said, "Okay, you can promote Marci this time." And the four-star general said, "You killed Marci last year." So he tried--this is Joseph Spiers(sp). I'll never forget him. And so he gets me assigned under a four-star general at air education and training command in '93 (1993). And I worked for General Visoyal(sp). I had worked for him for three months, and he called and he said, "You're really good', he said, 'but you haven't been here long.'" So he rated me number three out of his six generals--six brigadier generals. He had more generals. But six brigadier generals, one stars. I didn't get promoted again. And I just couldn't take it. I said, "Okay. I'm going, I'll get out." He called me and he said, "I can't make you any promises, but why don't you stay in, and let's see what happens." Well, the next year, he rated me number one, and I got picked up for major general, even after all those strange reports I got in my records.$$So this was 1995?$$Yeah. I think I pinned on major general in '96 (1996).

Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr.

A long time military officer, Major General Arthur Holmes, Jr. served almost four decades in the United States Army, retiring as a Commanding General. A highly distinguished officer, he won several awards and decorations such as the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal and the Distinguished Service Medal.

Holmes began his military career as a member of a Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program in college. In June 1952, upon graduation, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Filling a variety of roles, Holmes served twice as a Maintenance Battalion Commander, the second in Vietnam; a member of the Guidance and Procedures Branch of the Logistics Directorate for the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Chief of Ordnance Branch of the Officer Personnel Direc¬torate at the U.S Army Military Personnel Center before becoming Command¬er of the Division Support Command for the First Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Riley, Kansas; and subsequently served as Assistant Division Commander-Support for the same unit, the first Combat Service Support officer to fill the position. Holmes - then made history - becoming the first combat service support officer to serve as Executive Officer to the Secretary of the Army from 1977 until 1979. Holmes’ final post - before retiring in 1987 - was that of Commanding General, U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Command, where he oversaw the delivery of 30,000 tactical vehicles to the field with the highest level of user satisfaction yet achieved. On behalf of his service to the U.S. Army, in 1991, Holmes became am Inductee in the 1999 Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame.

Arthur Holmes, Jr. was born on May 12, 1931 in Decatur, Alabama. He earned his B.S. degree in chemistry from the Hampton Institute – now called Hampton University, and his M.B.A degree from Kent State (Ohio) University. Holmes is also a graduate of the Naval War College. Moving on from the military, he became highly involved in business and governmental life serving for eight years as Vice-President of Logistics Applications and then President and CEO of the Automated Sciences Group, Inc. - a high-tech corporation with 300 computer scientists and engineers and average annual revenue of $28 million. Holmes also served a seven year stint with the Montgomery County Planning Board, serving as a commissioner, and then vice-chair and chairman. Between 2002 and 2004, he served as Director of Go Montgomery! – a Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT) agency devoted to implementing the County’s Master Plan in all transportation regions. He took over the helm of DPWT, in October 2004.

Holmes is involved with many boards and organizations including Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He and his wife, Wilma, have four children and six grandchildren, and they reside in Olney, Maryland.

Holmes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 29, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.100

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/29/2008

Last Name

Holmes

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Maynard Elementary School

Beardsly Junior High School

Austin-East Magnet High School

Hampton University

U.S. Naval War College

Kent State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Arthur

Birth City, State, Country

Decatur

HM ID

HOL12

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

San Diego, California

Favorite Quote

We Can Do It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

5/12/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Major general Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. (1931 - ) retired from the military as Commanding General, U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Command, where he oversaw the delivery of 30,000 tactical vehicles to the field with the highest level of user satisfaction yet achieved. He also served as Director of Go Montgomery!, a Department of Public Works and Transportation in Alabama.

Employment

United States Army

Automated Science Group

Montgomery County Planning Board

Montgomery County Department of Transportation

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his family's frequent moves

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes remembers his childhood activities and best friend

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his early educational experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes describes his religious upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls the African American athletes of his youth

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his high school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls playing basketball at Austin High School in Knoxville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers the home front of World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls the heroism of Doris Miller

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his aspirations during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about the desegregation of the U.S. military

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his first impression of the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers his professors and classmates at the Hampton Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his ROTC training at the Hampton Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls joining the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers his deployment to Germany

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his U.S. military experiences in Germany

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his return to the United States

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes the duties of the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about equipment maintenance in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about the U.S. Army's weapons regulations

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his career in the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his deployment to Vietnam

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers the United States Naval War College

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls working for the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about the promotion process in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls the early African American generals in the U.S. military

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about personnel management in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls meeting General Colin L. Powell

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his appointment as the executive officer to secretary of the army

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his duties under the secretary of the army

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers Clifford L. Alexander, Jr. and President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers fragging incidents during the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his leadership style in Vietnam

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about the prevalence of drugs in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers meeting foreign dignitaries

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his promotion to brigadier general

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his responsibilities as a brigadier general

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about his graduate and professional training

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his responsibilities as a brigadier general

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his retirement from the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers joining the Montgomery Country Planning Board

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about his directorship of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers his transition to civilian life

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about his work at the Montgomery County Department of Transportation

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

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Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes remembers his childhood activities and best friend
Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his appointment as the executive officer to secretary of the army
Transcript
Can you tell us about some of the places you lived and what were some of the sights and sounds and smells of growing up?$$Well, in, in Decatur [Alabama], it was, it was right in the neighborhood and there wasn't much to do except, you know, you played marbles, you tried to play baseball in some of the yards. There wasn't a lot of recreation facilities for blacks in Decatur at that particular time. When we moved up in the Chattanooga [Tennessee] area, we were actually in a little town called Soddy, Tennessee [Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee] and there were twenty-one black families there and I can remember roaming the fields there and I remember we found some Indian cigars, so to speak, and we, you had to take those and, and (unclear) tobacco and you have to dry them out and I forgot to take them out of the oven (laughter) and my mom [Grace Bradley Holmes] found, found those things but I remember those, those were good days. We, we played cowboys and Indians [Native American] and that's when you had the guns with caps in 'em and it was a, I had a good childhood. I don't have bad memories of a childhood and I had a loving--a loving family.$$Okay, now what about Knoxville [Tennessee]? Now--$$In, in Knoxville, I went to, to the grammar school there for the second semester and I met my best friend, an individual, Edward Hill, who I talk with right now, once or twice a week. We're like brothers. There's nothing that Ed wouldn't do for me, I wouldn't do for him.$$Okay.$$And, and they called us Mutt and Jeff. I don't know whether you remember the cartoon, Mutt and Jeff. Mutt, Mutt was a very tall guy and Jeff was a very short guy so if you go to Knoxville, Tennessee, if you see Ed Hill, they'll, they'll know Art Holmes [HistoryMaker Major General Arthur Holmes, Jr.], they'll ask you about him because we just, we were very, very close.$$So was he very short?$$Yeah, he was very short. He didn't grow until he went to college and he, I think he's about 5', 5'9" now.$$Okay, and you're about 6'3" right?$$I'm 6'3".$$Okay, all right. So, Mutt and Jeff, yeah--$$Mutt and Jeff (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) it was a popular comic strip in all the papers in those days.$$That's right, yeah.$$Yeah.$Now what else about, when you were head of Ordnance for the (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, I was head of the, of the Ordnance Corps [U.S. Army Ordnance Corps] for approximately eighteen months and after that I went to Fort Riley [Kansas] and I commanded the division support command in the 1st Infantry Division and I did that for eighteen months.$$Now about what year is this?$$Say again?$$What year is this?$$This would have been '75 [1975], '76 [1976] until early '77 [1977].$$Okay.$$And in early '77 [1977], I became the assistant division commander for the 1st Infantry Division. There were two assistant division commanders and I was one of those and I did that for approximately three months and then I was selected by the secretary of the army to be the executive officer to the secretary of the army, and that's the highest military officer in the secretary of the army's officer--office.$$Okay.$$And I was the first black to be an executive to the secretary of the army who was a black at that particular time, Clifford Alexander [Clifford L. Alexander, Jr.].$$Okay, all right, all right. Now this is in '76 [1976]?$$Seventy-five [1975], '76 [1976], '77 [1977], I was his executive officer for two years.$$Yeah, now Clifford Alexander was appointed by Jimmy Carter [President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.]?$$By Jimmy Carter.$$All right, okay, all right. Now, were you surprised when you were selected or did you--$$Oh, very much so. I was out at Fort Riley as the assistant division commander, I was waiting to go to another command to command a depot in Red River, Red River Depot [Red River Army Depot] in Texarkana, Texas and I'd been out in the field with checking troops and training and I came back and the commanding general secretary said, "They, secretary of the army's office would like for you to call him," and I said, "Fine." I said, who's the secretary of the army because at that particular time, there was a transition and I didn't know who had been. So they said, come up and they wanted to interview me and I said I'll never get that particular job, first being a tactical service officer as opposed to a combat arm's officer and my daughters [Deborah Holmes Cook and Sharon Holmes Key] were back here so I said, I'll get a free trip back here to see my daughters and my interview with the secretary of the army lasted approximately ten minutes and I walked out of there saying, well, you know, that was a, that was a good time, I got to see my daughters, and I went to the airport at Dulles [Washington Dulles International Airport, Dulles, Virginia], getting ready to go back to Kansas and I got a call that said, "Colonel Holmes [HistoryMaker Major General Arthur Holmes, Jr.], would you pick up one of the courtesy phones," and I picked it up and the guy who was the acting executive said, "The secretary of the army wants to talk with you," and so I was hang--holding on and he came back on and said, he had to go up and see the secretary of defense so he will call you tomorrow. So I said to him, "Hey, you can't keep me hanging like this. What is it?" And he said, you know, "I can't tell you that." He said, "The secretary of the army has to tell you his decision," but he said, "I don't think you'll be disappointed," and when I got back to Fort Riley, the next day, I got a call that said the secretary of the army wanted me to come to the Pentagon [Washington, D.C.] and be his executive officer.$$Well, okay then, that doesn't get too much better than this.$$It does not.$$Okay, so (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I--that was one of the happiest moments in my life--$$Okay.$$--my military life, I should say.