May 8, 2012

SandBoxBlogs: Durango Telegraph "Captain of her own destiny"

Stew Mosberg:
"There are many former military personnel in Durango. However, there is only one who retired as the highest ranking female African-American officer in United States’ naval history; that would be Captain Gail Harris.
Born the eldest of three children into an impoverished but nurturing Newark, N. J., family, Harris knew from age 5 that she wanted to be a military officer. The catalyst for that early revelation came while watching a movie on TV with her dad.
As Harris relates it, in one scene from 1944’s “On a Wing and a Prayer,” actor Don Ameche briefs his WWII flight crew about their mission in the Battle of Midway, America’s turning point in the war against Japan. Pointing toward Ameche, the younger Harris cried out, “Daddy, that’s what I want to do when I grow up!” Rather than snicker or attempt to dissuade his precocious daughter, James Harris encouraged the bright, introverted youngster to follow her heart. She never let go of that dream and eventually left graduate studies in 1972 to enlist for what would become an illustrious 28-year career in naval intelligence....."
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