COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - As we look ahead to the Martin Luther King Junior holiday on Monday, a three-star general at Shaw Air Force Base is reflecting on the impact of the military during the Civil Rights movement.
Lieutenant General Michael Garrett says the military, at times, has led the way to paths of equality and desegregation.
The commanding general for US Army Central and Third Army is the second of the three generations of military men in his family. The decorated soldier says his service to the military has been the American dream, providing an opportunity where if you work hard enough- you can achieve anything.
General Garrett grew up in Georgia in the 1960′s, in the heart of the Civil Rights movement. But he says living on base at Fort Benning actually shielded him from a lot of the mistreatment that many minorities were facing at that time.
"The Army will tell you that diversity is one of the reasons we’ve been as successful as we’ve been, and what the Army is committed to is to ensuring that all of our young soldiers, regardless of race, color, creed, can look up in their formation and at the leadership of the Army and see themselves and that’s very, very important,” General Garrett said.
In 1948, President Harry Truman used an executive order to end discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin in the Armed Forces.