As part of its Black History Month program, the Republican National Committee on Thursday evening honored black military veterans during a reception at the African-American Civil War Museum in Washington, D.C.
At the event, RNC co-chairman Sharon Day awarded Dr. Leo Mackay, Jr., a retired Navy Officer and former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, with a Lincoln-Douglass award. Mackay (pictured) is currently a vice president and elected corporate officer of Lockheed Martin, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, was a Secretary of the Navy Distinguished Midshipman Graduate, and earned a PhD in political and economic analysis from Harvard.
The Lincoln-Douglass award is name for both President Abraham Lincoln and African American statesman Frederick Douglass, who helped form the 54th Massachusetts Regiment–an African-American unit of soldiers for the U.S. Civil War. Both Lincoln and Douglass were Republicans.
Mackay told Breitbart News that the U.S. military taught him everything he knows about leadership. “Everything I ever learned about leadership I learned in the Navy,” Mackay said in a statement. “Being able to later serve veterans was the most rewarding experience in my professional life. Being able to give back.”
Day, who co-hosted the event, praised the 54th Regiment as the beginning of a movement that allowed African Americans to fight for the United States in its military. “The 54th blazed a trail that others followed–The Buffalo Soldiers, the Tuskegee Airmen, the Montford Point Marines,” Day said in a speech at the reception, according to prepared remarks. “We also celebrate individuals who broke barriers, like General Colin Powell and Alice Banks, whom we honored here last year for being the first black woman to serve in the Women’s Army Corps.”
Gulf War Veteran and Franklin County, Ohio Auditor Clarence Mingo, who co-hosted Thursday’s reception with Day, added that he thinks this event served as a “wonderful opportunity to highlight the service and sacrifice of so many African Americans and that history is often not well understood.”
“One of the finer points in my life was serving in the United States Army,” Mingo said in a statement provided to Breitbart News. “It proved to be one of the most important things I ever did.”
An RNC staffer there told Breitbart News about 100 people were in attendance.