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April B.L. achieved a lot of firsts during her 34-year career with the U.S. Navy: first African American female Command Master Chief (CMC) of Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes; the first African American female CMC of an aircraft carrier; the first female and African American Force Master Chief for Naval Education and Training Command; and the first female African American Fleet Master Chief for Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education.
“It could have been anybody else, but it was me,” April says of her accomplishments. “There have been a lot of shoulders that I have been able to stand on because they went before me. The opportunities that I was given while I served in the Navy were only because of what they did.”
While April credits her achievements to the work of those who came before her, her legacy leaves a stronger, more inclusive Navy for those who follow.
“We owe it to ourselves and those who will follow in our footsteps to learn about those who made history and served against the odds,” she says. “They laid the foundation of the diverse Navy we have today.”