Marine Corps Junior ROTC program instructor and Master Sergeant Michael Fisher had a lot of military veteran eyes watering this week when he shared a video of himself giving his son, 2nd Lt. Michael Triston Fisher, his first salute.
.@USMC Master Sgt. Michael Fisher gives his son his first salute upon commissioning as a second lieutenant. A significant moment if you look at the racial diversity within the officer corps of the U.S. military. pic.twitter.com/qXpxOlZ528
— James LaPorta (@JimLaPorta) March 30, 2021
“I’ve watched you grow and mature and become the man that you are today. You have always been respectful by saying, ‘Yes, sir, no sir, yes ma’am, no ma’am.’ A salute is a sign of respect. It is a privilege to render you your first salute,” the father said.
“But it is a greater honor to say congratulations sir, on your commissioning,” he added while crying.
On Twitter, the video was shared by Associated Press journalist James LaPorta, who noted that it was also significant because of the lack of diversity within the officer ranks in the U.S. Military.
Just 5% of the active enlistment officers at the top of the pay grade are Black, according to data from the Defense Department. Additionally, a recent report from the military noted the wide disparities in racial equity within the higher ranks.
The Defense Department report lists dozens of measures leaders are taking to diversify the ranks of the military and to give more members of color chances to rise within the ranks.
“The active component officer population is less diverse than the eligible civilian population. Blacks/ African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians are all underrepresented compared with the eligible population. Notably, the officer corps is significantly less racially and ethnically diverse than the enlisted population, for both the active and Reserve Components,” the report stated.
“If military leaders are to mirror the racial and ethnic composition of the Service members they lead and the American public they serve, DoD must ensure that all Service members have access to opportunities to succeed and advance into leadership positions,” it added.
The video had 1.3 million views on Twitter and more than three million on Tik Tok, according to Because Of Them We Can.