December 14

December 14, 1944 – Vice Admiral Samuel Lee Gravely, Jr.

Samuel Gravely

Vice Admiral Samuel Gravely, Jr.

On December 14, 1944 Samuel Lee Gravely, Jr. became the first African American commissioned as an officer from the Navy Reserve Officer Training Course.  Gravely would eventually become a Vice Admiral.  Vice Admiral Samuel Lee Gravely, Jr. was born on June 4, 1922 in Richmond, Virginia.  Admiral Gravely was the first African American Naval Officer to command a U.S. Navy warship, the first African American since the Civil War to command an American warship under combat conditions, the first African American to command a major naval warship, the first African American to become an admiral and the first to become a vice admiral. Gravely was also the first African American to become a fleet commander.  He commanded the Third Fleet in Hawaii which included 60,000 officers and 100 ships.  Admiral Gravely retired in 1980 as a Vice Admiral directing the Defense Communications Agency.  He was a veteran of World War II, The Korean and Vietnam Wars.  He died on October 22, 2004 in Bethesda, Maryland at age 82.

Along with Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely, Jr., many Naval Officers tell in this video what it takes to become an officer.