The Department of the Navy will name its newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer after the late Vice Adm. Samuel L. Gravely Jr. Chief of Naval Personnel.
Vice Adm. John Harvey made the announcement at the National Historically Black Colleges
and Universities Conference
, saying, "It's fitting that this type of ship be named after a man who was able to set a true course for our nation's Navy, and at the same time transform challenges into accomplishments and lead the way for a future generation of Naval warfighters."
According to the Pentagon, Samuel Lee Gravely Jr. was born in Richmond, Va., June 4, 1922. On Dec. 14, 1944, Gravely successfully completed midshipman training, becoming the first African American commissioned as an officer from the Navy Reserve Officer
Training Course. He later worked as a Navy Recruiter, recruiting African Americans in the Washington, D.C. area. Gravely went on to a Navy career that lasted 38 years and included many distinguished accomplishments.
According to Naval historians, Gravely was the first African American to command a warship (the USS Theodore E. Chandler); command a major warship (USS Jouett); to achieve flag rank and eventually vice admiral; and to command a numbered fleet (Third).