Gen. James Amos told about 500 members of the National Naval Officers Association meeting in San Diego that he was “heartbroken” when he examined the status of blacks in the Marine Corps shortly after becoming commandant last fall.
“We’re just not there,” the 64-year-old four-star general said. “We’re not the face of society.”
Amos, who became the 35th commandant on Oct. 22, said black officers numbered 5.6 percent of the total number of officers in 2010.
The general said that although blacks make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population, they comprise 10 percent of the 202,000-troop Marine Corps.
“It’s not a quota I’m after, but I’ve got to pay attention to the numbers,” Amos told the naval officers association, a group made up mostly of U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard officers. “I just know I’m not happy with where we are.”
The Marine Corps promoted just 60 blacks among 1,073 promotions to the rank of lieutenant in 2010, he said. Amos said he wants to raise that 3.5 percent figure to at least 5 percent by the end of this year.
“We’re changing our entire approach,” he said, striding across the floor of a hotel ballroom as he made his remarks. “We’re going to improve this year, next year and the year after that.”
The Marine Corps is increasing its outreach to colleges and universities and establishing ties with athletic groups and other organizations to recruit more blacks, he said.
(Excerpt) Read more at nctimes.com …