WSMR Commander Col. George C. Turner, right, and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael S. Cordery, left, present Gerald Byers, center, the District Attorney for the Third Judicial District in Doña Ana County, with a certificate of appreciation for being the guest speaker at the Feb. 13 Black History Month observance at White Sands Missile Range.

WSMR community observes Black History Month

Gerald Byers, the District Attorney for the Third Judicial District in Doña Ana County, was the guest speaker at the Feb. 13 Black History Month observance at the White Sands Missile Range Frontier Club.

This year’s theme is “Civil Rights in America”.

During the program Byers shared his thoughts on Blach History Month and talked about some of his life experiences.

He said he remembered how in 1963 after the bombing of the Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, his parents were afraid for him and his siblings.

Byers also talked about not being at the top of his class, the same situation for many famous leaders.

“It is not what you accomplish, it is what you do with what you accomplish,” Byers said. “(I wasn’t at the top of my class), but I did learn how to be teachable, and I learned how to be determined and to never quit.”

At the end of his talk Byers told the audience that they are the guarantee of integrity, justice, and fairness.

WSMR Commander Col. George C. Turner thanked Byers and along with Command Sgt. Maj. Michael S. Cordery, presented him with a certificate of appreciation.

“We appreciate your perspective, and we take away your challenge to us to be determined, to never quit and to carry the torch of integrity,” Turner said.

Byers is the son of a career U.S. Air Force NCO. After graduating from high school, he received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, graduating in 1980 and receiving his Naval Officer’s Commission. He was later assigned to a surface combatant unit and deployed as a member of the Multinational Peacekeeping Force in Beirut, Lebanon from 1983 to 1984. In coordination with other units of that force, including the battleship USS New Jersey, he participated in the evacuation of American noncombatants from Beirut, Lebanon.

Miriam Rodriguez

WSMR Public Affairs