Saluting Black Military Heroes

A look at military heroes both known and unsung.

Defining Bravery and Honor - In honor of Independence Day, BET.com salutes Black servicemen and women who broke boundaries in the U.S. military and displayed great courage to serve and protect America. Happy 4th of July. ?Britt Middleton  Before the movie, there were the real Tuskegee Airmen, the first Black pilots in the United States Army who paved the way in helping to desegregate the U.S. military. Officially known as the 332nd Fighter Group, they are remembered for their heroic bravery displayed in bomber missions against German forces during World War II. (Photo: PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

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Defining Bravery and Honor - In honor of Independence Day, BET.com salutes Black servicemen and women who broke boundaries in the U.S. military and displayed great courage to serve and protect America. Happy 4th of July. —Britt Middleton Before the movie, there were the real Tuskegee Airmen, the first Black pilots in the United States Army who paved the way in helping to desegregate the U.S. military. Officially known as the 332nd Fighter Group, they are remembered for their heroic bravery displayed in bomber missions against German forces during World War II. (Photo: PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

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Gen. Benjamin Oliver Davis Sr. - Gen. Benjamin Oliver Davis Sr., the father of Tuskegee pilot Gen. Benjamin Oliver Jr., was the first Black army general in U.S. history. An adviser to top officials on racial discrimination in the army and professor of military science, he began his 50-year military career as a volunteer during the Spanish-American War in 1898 and later went on to receive a Bronze Star Medal and Distinguished Service Medal for his contributions. (Photo: Courtesy www.history.navy.mil) 

Eugene Jacques Bullard - Before the Roosevelt Administration passed the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, which required all men ages 18-45 to serve in the U.S. Army, Blacks served in limited roles or were excluded entirely from the armed forces, so many went abroad to search for new opportunities. Eugene Jacques Bullard, who was born in Columbus, Georgia, enlisted as a volunteer with the French army, and became the first Black military pilot in history and the only Black pilot in World War I. (Photo: Wikicommons)

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Eugene Jacques Bullard - Before the Roosevelt Administration passed the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, which required all men ages 18-45 to serve in the U.S. Army, Blacks served in limited roles or were excluded entirely from the armed forces, so many went abroad to search for new opportunities. Eugene Jacques Bullard, who was born in Columbus, Georgia, enlisted as a volunteer with the French army, and became the first Black military pilot in history and the only Black pilot in World War I. (Photo: Wikicommons)

Gen. Daniel ?Chappie? James Jr.  - A graduate of the Tuskegee Institute, Gen. Daniel "Chappie" James Jr. went on to execute 101 combat missions during the Korean War and 78 combat missions into North Vietnam, leading a sweep in which seven Communist aircrafts were destroyed ? the highest total kill of any mission during the Vietnam War. On Sept. 1, 1975, Gen. James became the first African-American promoted to four-star general, the highest rank in the U.S. Army. (Photo: Courtesy U.S. Air Force)

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Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Jr.  - A graduate of the Tuskegee Institute, Gen. Daniel "Chappie" James Jr. went on to execute 101 combat missions during the Korean War and 78 combat missions into North Vietnam, leading a sweep in which seven Communist aircrafts were destroyed — the highest total kill of any mission during the Vietnam War. On Sept. 1, 1975, Gen. James became the first African-American promoted to four-star general, the highest rank in the U.S. Army. (Photo: Courtesy U.S. Air Force)

Colin Powell - Colin Powell, a four-star Army General, was also the first African-American appointed in 2001 as Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush, and the only African-American to have served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1991. Powell served tours of duty during the Vietnam and Korean Wars, and has been honored with 11 military decorations, including the Soldier's Medal and a Purple Heart. (Photo: Courtesy United States Government)

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Colin Powell - Colin Powell, a four-star Army General, was also the first African-American appointed in 2001 as Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush, and the only African-American to have served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1991. Powell served tours of duty during the Vietnam and Korean Wars, and has been honored with 11 military decorations, including the Soldier's Medal and a Purple Heart. (Photo: Courtesy United States Government)

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James Mifflin - Civil War-era mess cook James Mifflin of Virginia defended the USS Brooklyn during the Battle of Mobile Bay on Aug. 5, 1864. He supplied ammunition under a blanket of enemy fire, an action that earned him the Medal of Honor. (Photo: Wikicommons)

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James Mifflin - Civil War-era mess cook James Mifflin of Virginia defended the USS Brooklyn during the Battle of Mobile Bay on Aug. 5, 1864. He supplied ammunition under a blanket of enemy fire, an action that earned him the Medal of Honor. (Photo: Wikicommons)

Doris "Dorie" Miller - Doris "Dorie" Miller was a cook aboard the USS West Virginia when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Miller heroically carried wounded soldiers to safety then manned a machine gun to hold off enemy fire. For his efforts, Miller was awarded the Navy Cross. (Photo: Courtesy www.history.navy.mil)

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Doris "Dorie" Miller - Doris "Dorie" Miller was a cook aboard the USS West Virginia when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Miller heroically carried wounded soldiers to safety then manned a machine gun to hold off enemy fire. For his efforts, Miller was awarded the Navy Cross. (Photo: Courtesy www.history.navy.mil)

Leonard Roy Harmon - Serving on board the USS San Francisco during the Battle of Guadalcanal on Nov. 13, 1942, mess cook Roy Harmon used himself as a human shield to protect a shipmate. He died in battle and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. The naval ship the "USS Harmon" was named in his honor. (Photo: Courtesy www.history.navy.mil)

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Leonard Roy Harmon - Serving on board the USS San Francisco during the Battle of Guadalcanal on Nov. 13, 1942, mess cook Roy Harmon used himself as a human shield to protect a shipmate. He died in battle and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. The naval ship the "USS Harmon" was named in his honor. (Photo: Courtesy www.history.navy.mil)

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Lt. Harriet Ida Pickens and Ensign Frances Wills - Harriet Ida Pickens, left, and Frances Wills became the first female African-American U.S. Navy officers when they graduated from the Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School at Northampton, Massachusetts, in November 1944. They served under the Navy's WAVES program, an initiative launched in 1945 allowing qualified enlisted women to be appointed as commissioned officers of the U.S. Navy. (Photo: Courtesy www.history.navy.mil)

The Golden Thirteen - Dubbed "The Golden Thirteen," this group of 12  commissioned officers and one warrant officer represented the first class of Black naval officers commissioned by the U.S. Navy in February 1944. (Photo: Courtesy www.history.navy.mil)

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The Golden Thirteen - Dubbed "The Golden Thirteen," this group of 12  commissioned officers and one warrant officer represented the first class of Black naval officers commissioned by the U.S. Navy in February 1944. (Photo: Courtesy www.history.navy.mil)