The biography of Rear Admiral Lawrence Cleveland Chambers is an amazing story of one of America’s historic naval men who overcame the prejudices of the segregated American South, who excelled and integrated the prestigious U.S. Naval Academy, only to become the first African American to command a navy carrier squadron, the first to command an aircraft carrier, the first to serve as naval aviator to attain the rank of Rear Admiral, and the first to command a naval carrier group. It is a deeply personal and revealing account of a remarkable journey of man whose career paralleled the geopolitical conflict of the Cold War between the United States and the communist bloc nations of China and the Soviet Union, then served as the Captain of the USS Midway (CV-41) during the evacuation of Saigon during Operation Frequent Wind, and how the challenges of his youth and his compelling life story enabled him to make the right leadership decisions for all of the right reasons.
The first African-American aircraft carrier commander, Rear Admiral Lawrence Cleveland Chambers (1920– ) played a prominent role as captain of the USS Midway during the Vietnam War. During the evacuation of Saigon—known as Operation Frequent Wind—he famously ordered several UH-1 helicopters pushed overboard to make room for an escaping South Vietnamese Air Force major to land his Cessna. Chambers, who had only commanded Midway for a few weeks, gave the order believing (wrongly, it turned out) that he would be court-martialed for the $10 million loss. This biography covers his early life and military career, including his role in the desegregation of the U.S. Navy during a period racial strife.
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