In his unpublished memoir, Eddie Hadden writes: “I graduated Texas Western College in 1965 with a degree in Journalism and prospects for a job with Johnson Publications in Los Angeles. I planned to be a chronicler of the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. Knowing I would be drafted, I chose my own weapons (airplanes), and was accepted into Air Force and Navy flight programs. I chose the Navy when a friend told me I shouldn’t because the Navy was too racist. That was like waving a red flag in my face. If I, having grown up in an Army family, was unwilling to take on this challenge, I could not expect others to do so. Joining the Navy gave me an opportunity to serve my country and the Civil Rights Movement”
During the 1960s, Eddie Hadden was among the first African American Naval aviators. After hunting Soviet submarines from air, he requested a transfer to Naval Recruiting in Washington specifically in order to the bolster the Navy’s efforts to recruit other black sailors. He helped develop the Navy’s advertising campaign, “You can be black and Navy, too” and even “starred” in one of the recruiting posters. After completing his Naval service, Mr. Hadden went on to a careers piloting planes for Eastern Airlines and completed a law degree and requested a transfer to Naval Recruiting in Washington specifically in order to the bolster the Navy’s efforts to recruit other black sailors.