Congratulations to the 2023 Class Of North Carolina’s Military Hall of Firsts
Just days before Veterans Day, eight incredible men and women were inducted into North Carolina’s Military Hall of Firsts. The ceremony was held at the North Carolina Museum of History this past Thursday, with Governor Roy Cooper and retired LtGen Walter E. Gaskin, USMC among the esteemed guests in attendance.
As secretary for the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (NC DMVA), LtGen Gaskin also presided over the evening’s events. In a stirring and touching speech, he explained the importance of the Hall and the honor bestowed among this year’s inductees.
“The North Carolina Military Hall of Firsts will serve to publicly honor the sacrifices of our veterans and their families and highlight the diverse contributions representative of all members of our society,” said Gaskin. “It provides our state with an incredible opportunity to learn the stories of these heroes, many who were previously unsung, and how they have greatly enriched the very fabric of North Carolina, our nation, and the world.”
Along with the inductions, the ceremony also included a special proclamation by Governor Cooper. November 9, 2023 is now proclaimed as “North Carolina Military Hall of Firsts Day” in the Tarheel state. You can read the full proclamation here.
The 2023 class of North Carolina’s Military Hall of Firsts are listed here along with their incredible accomplishments. The class includes:
- Charles George – first member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to receive the Medal of Honor
- William McBryar – second African American soldier from NC to receive the Medal of Honor
- William C. Lee – instrumental in establishing airborne forces for the US Army
- Mary Bayard Wooten – first woman in the NC National Guard
- Frederick C. Branch – first African American commissioned officer in the Marine Corps Reserve
- Robert Thomas – among the first African American soldiers in the USMC as part of the Montford Point Marines
- John D. Lewis – NC’s first African American radio announcer and TV host
- Francis M. Hooper Jr. – worked with Japanese police interpreters during the Korean War to learn how to write and speak fluent Japanese
Congratulations again to the new class of North Carolina’s Military Hall of Firsts! The entire state of North Carolina is honored to host such amazing individuals who served their country so dutifully.