Coast Guard celebrates diversity during African American History Month

HONOLULU -- Retired Master Chief Petty Officer Vincent Patton, the first African American Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, addresses the crowd in honor of African American History Month during a ceremony held at Base Support Unit, Honolulu, Feb. 24, 2011. Patton, a native of Detroit, enlisted in the Coast Guard in June 1972, initially started his career as a radioman and later changed to yeoman in 1979. Patton served as the 8th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, the services's highest enlisted rank from 1998-2002. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael De Nyse.

Retired Master Chief Petty Officer Vincent Patton, the first African American Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, addresses the crowd in honor of African American History Month during a ceremony held at Base Support Unit, Honolulu, Feb. 24, 2011. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Michael De Nyse.

HONOLULU – The first African American Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard addressed a crowd at Coast Guard Base Support Unit, Honolulu, as the honorary speaker during an African American History Month ceremony, Feb. 24, 2011.

Retired Master Chief Petty Officer Vincent Patton served as the 8th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard from May 1998 to October 2002. As the Coast Guard’s top enlisted member, he was the principal enlisted advisor to the Commandant of the Coast Guard, his directorates, and the Secretaries of Transportation and Defense.

Patton spoke to more than 100 Coast Guardsmen and civilian employees about how diversity in the Coast Guard strengthens the service as a whole. He also talked about overcoming personal adversities during his career.

The Coast Guard recognizes African American History Month through presentations, guest speakers, documentaries and cultural demonstrations through out the month of February. More information can be found www.Africanamericanhistorymonth.gov.

For more information about Patton, click here.

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