This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal

President Harry Truman established equal opportunity and treatment in the U.S. military branches with an executive order in 1948, but service members of color had been fighting for decades before that.

(RELATED: First Black Graduate of Naval Academy Dies)

History books record service members of color, including African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics, and women serving in some capacity for the military since the Revolutionary War.

Memorial Day often marks the unofficial start of summer for Americans, but it's more importantly a day to remember our fallen troops.

In honor of the holiday, we've assembled a small collection of just a few extraordinary servicemen and women and their accomplishments.

Photos are provided courtesy of the Department of Defense.

President Harry Truman established equal opportunity and treatment in the U.S. military branches with an executive order in 1948, but service members of color had been fighting for decades before that.

History books record service members of color, including African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics, and women serving in some capacity for the military since the Revolutionary War.

Memorial Day often marks the unofficial start of summer for Americans, but it's more importantly a day to remember our fallen troops.

In honor of the holiday, we've assembled a small collection of just a few extraordinary servicemen and women and their accomplishments.

President Harry Truman established equal opportunity and treatment in the U.S. military branches with an executive order in 1948, but service members of color had been fighting for decades before that.

 

History books record service members of color, including African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics, and women serving in some capacity for the military since the Revolutionary War.

 

Memorial Day often marks the unofficial start of summer for Americans, but it's more importantly a day to remember our fallen troops.

 

In honor of the holiday, we've assembled a small collection of just a few extraordinary servicemen and women and their accomplishments.

Deployed to southern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, 22-year-old 2nd Lt. Darius Chen currently serves as a medical officer with 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. A son of Asian-American immigrants, Chen is one of a handful of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders the military will celebrate in May for their contributions to the United States. (National Journal)
National Journal
1st Infantry Division Lt. Col. Enrique De La Paz, a native of Mexico City who immigrated to the U.S. in 1972, speaks to Soldiers during a Hispanic Heritage Month event at the U.S. Division-South Resiliency Campus in Basra province, Iraq, Sept. 30, 2010. (National Journal)
National Journal
George Joulwan, U.S. military general. Photo circa 1991. (National Journal)
National Journal
Brig. Gen. Laura Richardson, commanding general Operational Test Command, addresses a crowd during her promotion ceremony March 9, 2012. (National Journal)
General William E. (Kip) Ward became the first commander of US Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, on October 1, 2007. (National Journal)
The Senate confirmed Air Force Lt. Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger for promotion March 26, making her the first female four-star general in Air Force history. (National Journal)
Rear Admiral Valentin is currently serving as Commander, Navy Medicine Support Command and is the first female and sixteenth Director of the Medical Service Corps. Photograph was taken in 2009 after her promotion to flag rank. (National Journal)

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

This article is part of our Next America: Communities project, which is supported by a grant from Emerson Collective.

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