From 1933 to 1942, Navy recruits of African descent attended this school, located in barracks at Unit “K-West” and later at “B-East.” Advancement opportunities for these sailors and counterparts of Asian-Pacific Island heritage were then limited to serving as officer’s cooks or stewards. The school moved to Unit “X” in 1942 before training was relocated to Bainbridge, Maryland, and elsewhere. Though racial segregation continued, all job ratings were re-opened to qualified personnel in 1942. Mess attendants were re-designated “steward’s mates” in 1943, and more than 1,100 members of the messman/steward branch were killed during World War II. Norfolk trainees decorated for heroism include Navy Cross recipients Doris Miller, William Pinckney and Leonard Harmon.
Year On Marker: 2005
Original Sponsor: Private Sponsor
Geographic Location: Norfolk
Physical Description of Location: Southeast corner of intersection of Bacon Avenue and Morris Street, Norfolk, VA 23511. Marker is on Norfolk Naval Air Station base.
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