Each February, the U.S. Army reflects upon and celebrates the tremendous contributions of African Americans to the country during African American History Month.
Close to 200,000 African Americans serve in the active Army, National Guard, and Army Reserve. For nearly nine years, Staff Sgt. Donald Walls Jr. has been proud to count himself as part of that number.
Walls, a medical laboratory specialist by trade, is currently serving as the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment sergeant for Regional Health Command Europe.
“I chose the medical field because I have a biology background and science has always been a favorite subject of mine,” said Walls. “I also wanted to take care of Soldiers and to be a part of the storied Army Medicine history. In my experience as a medical laboratory specialist, it’s about getting to results that will ensure the patient’s quality of life will stay the same or improve based on laboratory results and interactions with their healthcare providers.”
The theme of African American History Month for 2021 is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity.” The theme highlights the African American family, leadership and service.
One of the reasons Walls decided to join the military was because of family.
“My father and three of my uncles served,” he said. He also has two cousins who are currently serving and two more who will attend basic training this summer.
African Americans have defended the nation since the Revolutionary War and have built a legacy of courage and professionalism by serving the U.S. Army with great honor and distinction.
“African American History Month is a time to reflect on what it means to be of African descent and be American,” said Walls. “There are now African Americans in every field that America has to offer, and we stand on the shoulders of the giants that came before us. It is a time to figure out a way forward for our future, the same way our ancestors did for us. There are way too many notable pioneers to mention, and far too many pioneers who don’t receive the recognition they deserve.”
To learn more about African American History Month, visit https://www.army.mil/africanamericans/.