"CHINFO'S Minority Affairs Division."
All Hands. no. 651. Washington, D.C. GPO, April 1971. P. 14.
SuDoc No.: D208.3
Lieutenant Commander Melvin Patridge, the Navy's director of the Office of Information's
Minority Affairs Division, describes the office's mission of communicating the nature of the
"changing Navy" to both civilian and military audiences.
Now that the structure of the Navy is changing we can more effectively begin communicating the
substance of that change to both the civilian and military audiences," said Lieutenant
Commander Melvin Patridge, director of the Office of Information's Minority Affairs Division.
Formed in January 1969 to communicate effectively the Navy's changing racial structures, the
office has had LCDR Patridge as its director since the division's inception. With a staff of
two officers and an enlisted journalist, he has distributed a weekly press release to newspapers,
released frequent audio messages to radio stations with primarily ethnic audiences, coordinated
internal information programs to inform Navy and Marine Corps personnel, and generally kept the
civilian public aware of the aims, efforts and programs of the changing Navy.
"I see our presence in CHINFO primarily as a force to insure the accurate representation of
all minority groups in the Navy's public affairs," continued LCDR Patridge. "We've
implemented this goal in two phases. First, our special projects such as the news releases and
films and brochures are geared toward this accurate representation, and second, we have provided
guidance to other Navy agencies to insure this representation. We have been moderately
successful, and pleased with the progress we have seen to date."
LCDR Patridge agrees that the presence of strong command support from Admiral Elmo Zumwalt has
greatly helped his effort in improving the "image" of the Navy in the civilian
community. "We couldn't begin to have had the success we have had if it had not been for
the very real changes we have seen in the last two and a half years within the Navy itself,"
he said. "People recognize a deliberate attempt to misrepresent reality, especially in
racial matters, but we in the Navy have positive, ongoing programs administered by positive,
ongoing people to publicize."
LCDR Patridge has been expanding his original goals for the CHINFO division in the past year.
He, by necessity, had to confine his office's efforts to black Navymen the first few months of
operation, but can now use their experience in including all minorities in CHINFO's efforts.
"I am confident that the future will provide more and more positive programs that we can
communicate to external and internal audiences," he concluded. "It's a story that
must be told."