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Col. Edward Howard

U.S. Army Colonel Edward B. Howard was born on September 13, 1925 in Washington, D.C. His father, Edward W. Howard, was an attorney; his mother, Edith B. Howard, an English teacher. Howard attended Grimke Elementary School and Garnet Patterson Jr. High School before graduating as valedictorian from Paul Laurence Dunbar Sr. High School in Washington, D.C. in 1943. He then attended Dartmouth College from 1943 to 1945 before being selected to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Howard went on to earn his B.S. degree in engineering from West Point in 1949 and his M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1960.

Throughout his thirty years of service, Howard has significant experience with engineering investigations and technical analysis. Howard began his military career in 1949 as a company grade officer, and was then assigned as a signal company commander occupying Germany until 1962. During the Vietnam War he received domestic and international assignments. Howard served as a communications officer in the National Military Command Center at Pentagon and then as an installation commander and staff officer in Bangkok, Thailand where he managed a program to train Thai engineers and directed a fixed communications facility. In 1971, Howard became chief the Frequency Branch in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and in 1973, he was assigned to the board of the Inspector General of the U.S. Army.

Howard served as a signal corps officer from 1967 to 1979 and then became a senior engineer for Flight Systems, Inc. While there, he recommended the criteria for prioritizing the U.S. Navy Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) and developed the U.S. Navy standard briefing for subcontractor manufacturing. From 1983 to 1990, Howard received several senior-level military and civilian appointments, including being named a senior scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), and the Army Corps of Engineers. He also provided engineering support the RAIL Company to develop the Unmanned Air Vehicle and Tactical Air Launched Decoy production models. In 1970, he was hired by ORI, Inc., and served as the lead engineer to review the Electromagnetic Interference/Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMI/EMC) plans, specification and program documents.

Howard is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the Dartmouth Outing Club, and Methodist Men. For serving in the U.S. Army during a time of war, Howard was honored with the World War II Victory Medal, the Korean Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. His military decorations also include the Combat Infantry Badge, the Army Occupation Medal (Germany), the National Defense Medal with the 1st Oak Leaf Cluster, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Legion of Merit Medal, the Bronze Star Medal with the 1st Oak Leaf Cluster, the Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge, and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Howard married the late Willrene M. White Howard on April 8, 1950. They have one daughter, Edith H. Bostic.

Edward B. Howard was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 23, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.147

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/23/2013

Last Name

Howard

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Occupation
Schools

Grimke School

Shaw Middle School @ Garnet Patterson

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Dartmouth College

United States Military Academy

Purdue University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Edward

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

HOW05

Favorite Season

Holiday Season

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Quote

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/13/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Death Date

6/20/2017

Short Description

General Col. Edward Howard (1925 - 2017 ) is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Employment

ORI, Inc

Rail Company

Science and Technology Program

Flight Systems, Inc

United States Army

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1618,30:3340,99:4488,114:5226,125:5636,131:32886,205:68880,543:69510,551:80084,603:86004,622:112610,908:112910,913:124138,995:124600,1002:137302,1101:138394,1115:139720,1204:140500,1221:162691,1377:163923,1407:164231,1442:185750,1537:188170,1579:212058,1714:233618,1944:234013,1950:236530,1971:256684,2109:257860,2116:266640,2174:269133,2205:276290,2263:285153,2309:285843,2359:298216,2481:309374,2551:313356,2596:313700,2601:314560,2615:315506,2625:319204,2728:327402,2781:327714,2827:328572,2846:329196,2857:331536,3032:337874,3139:355418,3316:357138,3361:366544,3503:370720,3534:377770,3626$0,0:48508,429:56854,543:107695,795:150070,1084:155950,1342:165364,1399:195286,1558:196087,1572:206486,1654:239940,1949
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33486">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Edward Howard's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33487">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Edward Howard lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33488">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Edward Howard describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33489">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Edward Howard talks about his mother's education and her becoming a teacher</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33490">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Edward Howard talks about his father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33491">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Edward Howard talks about his parents' personalities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33492">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Edward Howard talks about his childhood household</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33493">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Edward Howard talks about growing up in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33494">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Edward Howard describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33495">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Edward Howard talks about his childhood interest in the soapbox derby and tinkering with gadgets</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33496">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Edward Howard talks about starting grade school at Grimke Elementary School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33497">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Edward Howard talks about his experience in elementary school in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33498">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Edward Howard talks about going to church as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33499">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Edward Howard talks about attending middle school in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33500">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Edward Howard describes his experience in high school in Washington, D.C., as a high school cadet</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33501">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Edward Howard talks about his interest in becoming a medical doctor, and his joining the United States Military Academy, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33502">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Edward Howard talks about his interest in becoming a medical doctor, and his joining the United States Military Academy, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33503">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Edward Howard talks about boxing champion Joe Louis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33504">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Edward Howard describes his decision to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33505">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Edward Howard describes his initial experience at the United States Military Academy at West Point</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33506">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Edward Howard describes his experience at Dartmouth College and at the United States Military Academy at West Point</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33507">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Edward Howard describes his interest in photography and staying free of demerits at the United States Military Academy at West Point</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33508">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Edward Howard talks about his experience at the United States Military Academy at West Point</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33509">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Edward Howard talks about attending Ground General School at Fort Riley, Kansas, and the integration of the armed services in 1948</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33510">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Edward Howard describes how he met his wife and they were married in 1950</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33511">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Edward Howard describes his experience in the U.S. Army Signal Corp in Korea in the 1950s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33512">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Edward Howard describes his experience in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Korea in the 1950s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33513">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Edward Howard talks about attending Purdue University to obtain his master's degree in electrical engineering</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33514">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Edward Howard talks about serving on the Army Discharge Review Board</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33515">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Edward Howard talks about his service in the U.S. Army and his retirement as a full colonel in 1979</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33516">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Edward Howard talks about his medals and commendations in the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33517">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Edward Howard talks about attending West Point class luncheons</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33518">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Edward Howard talks about his career as an electrical engineer after retiring from the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33519">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Edward Howard reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33520">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Edward Howard talks about his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33521">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Edward Howard describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33522">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Edward Howard talks about how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33523">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Edward Howard describes his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

2$6

DATitle
Edward Howard describes his interest in photography and staying free of demerits at the United States Military Academy at West Point
Edward Howard describes his experience in the U.S. Army Signal Corp in Korea in the 1950s
Transcript
What was your--did you have a favorite part of West Point [United States Military Academy], I mean something that really was great that you liked the most about West Point?$$Well, I don't know of anything that, considered a favorite. I, I know I started a series of photographs. Photography was one of my hobbies, so I would put--each week, essentially, I would have a new picture on the bulletin board. And sometimes, I would have them indicate something and ask for a suggested title. I know that I borrowed a Great Dane from one of the faculty members. And I had a fellow who had his full dress uniform show, have that on his arm. We had the dog, he was holding a roll in his hand, and I used that as the barker (unclear) rule in the "Tales of Hoffman." So his name was Hoffman, and that was how, I mean I would ask, put these--as I say, put these pictures on the board, usually on a weekly basis, some significant event or something humorous or whatever you wanna call it.$$Okay, did people like your photos for the most part?$$Oh, I think so, yes.$$Okay, all right, so--okay, what was the worst time at West Point? Was there a time when you thought you weren't gonna make or a time that you thought that you were gonna get in trouble or did get in trouble or--$$It doesn't ring a bell.$$So you never experienced any real, you know, down times or--$$No.$$Okay, and what would you think would be your great triumph at West Point?$$Greatest?$$Triumph.$$Triumph?$$Yeah.$$I guess I stayed essentially demerit free. I didn't get into any problems of demerits or academic problems or anything so that, I could sweat easily. And when you're showing signs of putting out, as they called it, I would give the impression that I was putting out. So by perspiring under pressure, I just managed to survive, so to speak.$$I don't understand that, now, kind of explain that again for us?$$Well, as I say, you wanted, when you're a plebe, your first year, you wanna show that you're absorbing what they want you to get. So by showing that I would, when I would perspire and give--it made it look as if I was really trying to do the right thing. And it lessened any severe treatment that I would get not putting out.$$Okay, so--$$So--$$Go ahead.$$Well, as I say that's, that was showing that you were taking everything that they're giving you. I could show that I was trying to do what I was told to do. So I didn't have any academic, any demerit problems or anything like that from not trying to follow instructions.$$Okay, so if they gave you an instruction, and you were--and if you didn't show that you were sweating, they would, it would indicate that you weren't trying hard enough.$$Um-hum, yeah.$$But you could sweat easier--$$Yes, so--$$So (laughter), it always looked like you were trying.$$(Laughter) Yeah.$$Now, this is a, I guess would be a racial kind of characteristic that--I think African Americans actually sweat easier than white people.$$Oh.$$And I, you know, I'm not a scientist but life has indicated to me that that's true, pretty much. I used to go to band camp, and they used to pass out salt pills to all the white people 'cause they would pass out on the field, 'cause they couldn't--they didn't sweat like me. But I sweated a lot. I never needed it.$$(Laughter).$$But the, it's--so this is something that you can do (laughter) that kept you out of big trouble?$$Yes, I think so.$$'Cause it always looked like you were trying much harder--$$Yeah.$$--because you sweated easier.$$Um-hum.$$But you were trying, though, right?$$Oh, yes.$$Anyway, so, okay. That's interesting, that's interesting.$And I have here--I don't know what comes next exactly, but what I have here is that you were assigned to Camp Cooke in California, is that right?$$(OFF-CAMERA VOICE): Assigned to Fort Monmouth, then he went to--$$Oh, okay, he's goes--okay, you go to Korea first, right?$$(No audible response).$$No, okay. What was the first?$$(OFF-CAMERA VOICE): I think he was assigned to Fort Monmouth and from Fort Monmouth, he was sent to Korea 'cause he went to Korea within six months of his marriage.$$All right, so.$$(OFF-CAMERA VOICE): He goes to Korea in '50 [1950], '51 [1951].$$Yeah, so I'm hearing that you went to Fort Monmouth [New Jersey] and then to Korea, right?$$Yes.$$Is that true?$$Yes.$$Okay, and you're--now, you were in the Signal Corp--$$Signal Corp, um-hum.$$--in Korea. What were your duties as a Signal Corpsman in Korea?$$We, I had the communications element of the division. The division's Signal officer was a Lieutenant Colonel, and I had the wire platoon, wire communications in those days. We did a lot of field wire installations and that sort of thing. We, that is cable to various units we supported, and I recall the unfortunate incident where the division Signal officer was traveling with some of my people, and we had these two and a half ton trucks with wire cable. The trouble, the problems were with mines mostly, whereby a mine was struck by one of the vehicles that I had and the Signal officer was traveling with some people in a jeep. I was in another jeep, and this cable, two and a half ton truck, hit a mine which didn't do too much damage, but the jeep where the Signal officer was, was--when they heard this other instance, when he heard the trouble, he backed up, and he backed over a mine. And that took out the Signal officer and one of my drivers, I believe, was with him and everything. So that they lost their lives in that incident--$$Okay.$$--which was a bit unnerving, so to speak.$$Yes, sir.

Dr. Alvin Blount, Jr.

Physician Dr. Alvin Blount, Jr. was born on February 24, 1922, in Wake County, Raleigh, North Carolina. He was the eldest of four children and the only son of parents who worked as domestics. After graduating from Washington High School in Raleigh, Blount enrolled at North Carolina A & T University in 1939 where he served as the student body president and as chairman of the campus newspaper before graduating in 1943 with his B.A. degree in chemistry (magna cum laude). After graduating, Blount was accepted into a government funded program that enabled him to enroll in Howard University Medical School where he studied under Dr. Charles Drew and received his M.D. degree in 1947. Blount spent three years on active duty in the U.S. Army during medical school. He completed a general surgery residency at Kate Bittings Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Winston-Salem.

In 1952, Blount was mobilized with the 8225th Infantry Division from Fort Bragg as a member of the U.S. Army Medical Corps’ 2nd Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) Unit that was sent to Korea. Blount, whose team performed ninety surgeries a week, went on to become a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. He served as acting Chief of Surgery for the 8225th MASH Unit in Korea from 1951 until 1952, and was appointed Chief of Surgery for the 47th U.S. Army Combat Surgical Hospital in Southeast Asia. He returned to the United States in 1954.

In 1957, Blount became the first African American in North Carolina be certified by the American College of Abdominal Surgeons in 1957 and practiced at Kindred Hospital (formerly L. Richardson Hospital). He was a litigant of the suit Simkins v. Moses H. Cone Hospital (1963), the landmark Supreme Court decision that desegregated hospitals throughout the South. Blount became the first black surgeon admitted to the medical staff of Cone Hospital in 1964. He served as Chief of Surgery for L. Richardson Hospital and as Medical Director for the Guilford Health Care Center.

Blount was affiliated with numerous organizations including Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Association of Guardsmen. He was a member of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity since 1970; and, in 1979, he established the Beta Epsilon Boule of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity in Greensboro. Blount, a 33rd degree Mason, was an honorary past Grand Master and Medical Director of the Prince Hall Masons of North Carolina. He received countless awards including the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest honor that can be granted to a civilian in the state of North Carolina. In 1983, North Carolina A & T University awarded Blount an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities

Blount passed away on January 6, 2017 at age 94.

Accession Number

A2013.157

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/5/2013

Last Name

Blount

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

V.

Occupation
Schools

Washington High School

North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University

Howard University College of Medicine

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Alvin

Birth City, State, Country

Raleigh

HM ID

BLO02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

If you think you are right, have the courage to do it.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Interview Description
Birth Date

2/24/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Greensboro

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken

Death Date

1/6/2017

Short Description

Physician Dr. Alvin Blount, Jr. (1922 - 2017 ) , the first African American in North Carolina to be certified by the American College of Abdominal Surgeons, was a litigant in the hospital desegregation suit Simkins v. Moses H. Cone Hospital, which allowed him to become first black surgeon admitted to the medical staff of Cone Hospital. He served as acting Chief of Surgery for the 8225th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) Unit in Korea from 1951 until 1952, and was appointed Chief of Surgery for the 47th U.S. Army Combat Surgical Hospital in Southeast Asia.

Employment

Delete

Kindred Hospital

Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital

L. Richardson Hospital

Womack Army Hospital

8225th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital

United States Army Medical Services

Katie B. Reynolds Memorial Hospital

Favorite Color

Light Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:2835,19:17790,203:18385,212:53310,588:53772,596:54465,605:76772,852:77384,864:77928,873:78404,881:80376,918:80852,926:81736,939:88510,1027:88895,1036:89115,1041:93930,1113:108490,1262:113260,1293:114502,1298:125734,1467:126139,1480:131647,1544:136290,1566:136510,1571:141156,1639:146276,1668:147872,1690:149048,1712:156058,1775:158476,1795:159100,1805:176763,2024:183386,2059:204590,2260$380,0:5980,83:6880,94:7580,100:8080,106:9180,119:10980,143:18783,270:23230,329:26290,393:26920,420:41138,575:69056,941:79454,1013:109475,1361:114721,1420:116630,1525:179498,2141:180344,2189:194972,2313:208580,2440:216256,2581:216864,2590:230282,2737:238307,2849:277920,3266
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34885">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alvin Blount's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34886">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34887">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount describes his mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34888">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount describes his mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34889">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount talks about his mother's education and aspirations and his parents working in New York during the Great Depression</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34890">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount describes his father's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34891">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount talks about land ownership in North Carolina after the American Civil War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34892">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount describes his father's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34893">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alvin Blount talks about his father's education and his job in North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34894">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alvin Blount talks about his parents getting married in 1920 and lists his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34895">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Alvin Blount talks about his parents' loving marriage, their emphasis on education, and their having to work in New York during the Great Depression</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34896">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Alvin Blount discusses his father's employment as a chauffeur for Eddie Rickenbacker, the Rickenbacker family, and General John "Black Jack" Pershing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34897">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Alvin Blount talks about the mentorship that he received from his father's employer, Reed Chambers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34898">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount talks about Reed Cambers, his mother's death, and his father's remarriage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34899">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount describes his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34900">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount talks about his childhood observations of his life as an African American</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34901">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about his religious faith</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34902">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount talks about attending elementary school in New Rochelle, New York and Franklinton, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34903">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount talks about the difference between his elementary schools in New Rochelle, New York and Franklinton, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34904">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount talks about the teachers who influenced him, his math classes and why he decided to major in chemistry in college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34905">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount talks about his academics and leadership in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34906">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Alvin Blount talks about being exposed to black doctors in the neighborhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34907">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Alvin Blount talks about attending North Carolina A and T State University in 1939 on a National Youth Administration (NYA) scholarship</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34908">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Alvin Blount talks about his professors in at North Carolina A and T State University and his involvement in campus politics</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34909">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount talks about his nickname in college, and running for student body elections</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34910">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount recalls the United States' entry into World War II in 1941 and why he decided to pursue medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34911">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount talks about the importance of a background in the humanities, and how he ensured that he received a well-rounded education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34912">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about the joining the U.S. Army and his experience there</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34913">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount talks about attending Howard University's medical college, his residency in North Carolina, and the challenges of being a black physician</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34914">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount talks about the Flexner Report</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34915">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount talks about the challenges that were faced by black medical students and residents while receiving his medical training</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34916">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount talks about the limited opportunity for black medical residents and the discrimination against them</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34917">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Alvin Blount talks about his professors and colleagues at Howard University's College of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34918">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Alvin Blount talks about his career as a physician and surgeon</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34919">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount talks about his residency at Kate B. Reynolds Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34920">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount talks about rejoining the military in 1950, and his assignments to the MASH units in Fort Bragg and in Korea</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34921">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount describes his experience in the Korean War, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34922">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about his marriages</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34923">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount reflects upon his experience in Korea during the Korean War and the plight of the civilians, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34924">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount reflects upon his experience in Korea during the Korean War and the plight of the civilians, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34925">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount talks about the book and television series, MASH</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34926">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount describes his experience the Korean War, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36429">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount talks about returning from the Korean War and his acquaintance with Thurgood Marshall</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36430">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount talks about becoming the first black doctor to practice at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36431">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount talks about the anti-discrimination 'Simkins versus Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital' lawsuit of 1963, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36432">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about the anti-discrimination 'Simkins versus Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital' lawsuit of 1963, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36433">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount reflects upon Jack Greenberg being the only white legal counselor for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36434">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount reflects upon his experience with demonstrations at North Carolina A and T State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36435">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount talks about Reverend Jesse Jackson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36436">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount talks about black doctors who were involved in civil rights and the history of African Americans in medicine in Greensboro, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36437">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount talks about becoming the first black physician to perform surgery at Moses Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36438">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount talks about the Ku Klux Klansmen who built his home in Greensboro, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36439">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount talks about facing discrimination as a physician in Greensboro, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36440">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about serving on the Greensboro jury commission</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36441">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount reflects upon the changes in the relationship between African American and white doctors in North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36442">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount reflects upon his career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36443">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36444">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36445">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Alvin Blount reflects upon the election of President Barack Obama as the first black president in the United States</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36446">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Alvin Blount talks about his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34945">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount discusses health concerns and healthcare for the African American community, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34946">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount discusses health concerns and healthcare for the African American community, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34947">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount talks about medical malpractice</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34948">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34949">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount describes his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

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DATitle
Alvin Blount talks about the anti-discrimination 'Simkins versus Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital' lawsuit of 1963, pt. 1
Alvin Blount talks about becoming the first black physician to perform surgery at Moses Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina
Transcript
There's a story to that. I was chairman in Greensboro [North Carolina] of the liaison committee between the Greensboro Medical Society--black, and the white medical society, Gilford County. They had a group of doctors, members from each of them. And I served as chairman. I was secretary of the Greensboro Medical Society. And although they had other people qualified, I had an application in. And I was appointed the first black doctor to the Gilford County Medical Society and the Greensboro Academy of Medicine. Now, there's another--added to it. They offered us, before this, what is called a scientific membership--which you go to the meetings, but the social events, you were excluded.$$Scientific membership?$$Yeah. And we wrote them back and told them this is the most insulting thing you can do, and did not accept it.$$Yeah, isn't a goal of the American Medical Association to form a collegial bond between physicians?$$Well, that's what they said. But you see, they didn't have a--. Here's the question. When you read this book, you'll understand the black doctor was never intended by the American Medical Association to be as full fledged as the white physician. I don't care how much training, what and what--if you're black, then you lost your qualification then. That went for [Dr. Charles] Drew, that went for all of us at Howard [University, Washington, District of Columbia], and everybody, until they got them to--and so forth. So, there we had that right that we had in the South. And in--a lot of northern states were doing the same thing. It excludes, at that time it didn't exclude Connecticut nor Massachusetts at first. So, this is it, the thing that we were fighting about. It all eventually led, as you know, in a suit.$$Right, right.$$In 1962.$$A friend of yours who's a dentist, right, filed?$$There were ten of us.$$Well, can you remember all ten?$$Yeah. I got them around here somewhere. Okay, let me see if I can give you--There was Dr. [Walter] Hughes, Dr. Blount, Dr. Jones and Dr. Alexander, Dr. F. E. Davis and E.C. Noel. And the dentists were Dr. [George] Simkins, Dr. Milton Barnes and Dr. W. T. L. Miller. And there were two civilians, one of which was named Lyons.$$Okay.$$That's it.$$Okay, okay.$Okay. Now, in 1964--this is the same year as the Civil Rights Act was passed, you became the first black physician to perform an operation at Moses Cone [Memorial Hospital, Greensboro, North Carolina], right?$$Yes I did, a cholecystectomy (unclear).$$How did that take place? I mean, was there, you know--because you being the first, there had to be some--was there any ceremony involved in this, or any--$$It is said that the white surgeons took a holiday that day. That's so far back I can't think whether it was true or not. More than likely, it was. But it was said that for two or three days, the white physicians would boycott this. I don't know whether they did or not, but that is said, and it probably is true. But I had been operating with them over at the black hospital. So, that wasn't anything new. I'd been at the [U.S.] Army hospital and I operated, so--. And my assistant was in surgery and gynecology, but he was also certified. So, we went in and did our, you know, before we do our operations, the first thing we do is we ligate the cystic duct and cystic artery. And then before we cut, we take a picture of the common [bile] duct to see if there are any stones in there. If not, you cut them and (unclear) come on out. And I guess we were there about an hour and ten minutes doing that. And they were amazed, because some of their doctors took two hours and a half or something. But that goes under the particular art of dexterity. And some people are fairly good technicians and others aren't, and no matter how much theory they know, they just can't do the small things, because we don't--yeah--$$We were talking about Jack White earlier--$$Yeah, that's right.$$--about how dexterious he was.$$And me doing them now, I'd be doing laproscopic. I'd just make two little holes and look down there and clip, clip, clip, clip, and in thirty minutes, I'm out. But (unclear), and then of course, the next day I have to (unclear) with an abdominal hysterectomy and, you know, the vaginal. I did, and I think the next day I had a cholecystectomy the day before, and lesions were left in the colon and enter into what we call entero-proctostomy, the thing what I've been doing all the time. And then they started drifting back and shaking my hands and saying, "It certainly went right, I'm sorry y'all had to go through this stuff." You know, I just took that pressure off them. "Yeah, man. But you see what you were doing, you were messing with my welfare because the patient wanted to come here, and I couldn't come here. So they had to get somebody here to do the operation. You're taking my money. (laughter). And so, that's the only thing we're interested in. You don't have to love me, or like me, or not. But you don't have the right to keep me out of this facility, because you don't want it. The people know it."$$This is true.$$Yeah. So there again goes-they of us (unclear) how to approach things and how to get things over to people definitely without having to put your fist on them. Don't get mad about it, just lay the facts out. Smarter thinker. That's what I, all my life--if you live in the South, and they do anything for you, you had to spend some nights thinking how you're going to get this done.

Tyrone T. Dancy

U.S. Army soldier Tyrone T. Dancy was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dancy was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1969 and went on to serve in the Vietnam War with the 199th light infantry brigade. Following a brief tour of duty, Dancy returned to the United States and continued his education. He graduated from Pierce Junior College with his A.A. degree in arts and humanities and then enrolled at LaSalle University where he received his B.A. degree in sociology and psychology in 2005, and his M.A. degree in communications in 2007.

In April of 1977, Dancy began his career with the State Labor Department of Pennsylvania as a disabled veteran’s outreach program specialist. Throughout his twenty-five year career, he has provided employment assistance and guidance to thousands of veterans. In 1990, Dancy worked as a local veteran’s employment representative. He then served as a veteran’s program function supervisor for twelve years before retiring on November 22, 2002. Dancy also served for a short time as the chairperson of the Pennsylvania International Association of Personnel in Employment Security (IAPES) Veterans Committee as well as the vice chairperson of the IAPES National Veterans Committee.

Throughout the early 1990s, Dancy wrote a bi-weekly column entitled, “On Point” for the Philadelphia Leader. This led him to write and self-publish the book, Serving Under Adverse Conditions, which discloses the struggles of Vietnam veterans. Dancy went on to co-produce, “Letters from the Attic,” a play about African American war veterans. Dancy also serves as host and producer of the Veterans Hour Radio Program on WDAS-AM 1480 in Philadelphia.

Dancy has been honored by numerous civic organizations for his work on behalf of veterans. He received the Dean K. Phillips Award from the National Veterans Training Institute as well as an award from the National Office of Vietnam Veterans of America for his leadership in the passage of legislation for a Veterans Bill of Rights in the State of Pennsylvania. Dancy was presented with a Senatorial Citation in 1994 from Senator Allyson Y. Schwartz of Pennsylvania for his leadership on veterans issues. Dancy’s military honors include the Bronze Star for Heroism with the “V” for Valor, the Purple Heart for wounds sustained in combat, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Army Commendation, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Combat Infantry Badge.

Tyrone T. Dancy was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on 03/25/2013.

Accession Number

A2013.096

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/25/2013

Last Name

Dancy

Maker Category
Middle Name

T.

Schools

Pierce Junior College

La Salle University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Tyrone

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

DAN07

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Keep praying until it comes about.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/14/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Meatloaf

Short Description

Author, (ret.) U.S. combat veteran, and deacon Tyrone T. Dancy (1947 - ) , author of Serving Under Adverse Conditions, is a combat Vietnam veteran who was awarded the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Bronze Star for Heroism with the “V” for Valor, and the Purple Heart for wounds sustained in combat.

Employment

United States Army

Pennsylvania State Department of Labor

Leader

Favorite Color

Navy Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:8884,102:9636,112:12550,150:12926,155:13302,160:14336,173:14712,178:23240,239:23544,244:34798,360:36532,384:38572,416:39082,422:40918,442:41734,453:50426,513:52782,561:53542,572:54606,590:55670,606:58767,630:59376,638:61534,660:62629,676:63067,683:65038,721:65476,728:75249,790:87280,914:103365,1116:112488,1242:113510,1260:116357,1314:116649,1319:117233,1329:122740,1369:133130,1531:156488,1920:171765,2069:177470,2166:177820,2172:185458,2257:189598,2326:198810,2365:200180,2385$0,0:81904,649:123528,922:139273,1069:139728,1075:149358,1120:160600,1175:166947,1261:192762,1484:199115,1520:221550,1649:222460,1660:227192,1688:233391,1728:234945,1746:235611,1753:236055,1758:267146,1959:274960,1990:339360,2551
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33228">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Tyrone Dancy's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33229">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Tyrone Dancy lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33230">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Tyrone Dancy describes his mother's family background pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33231">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Tyrone Dancy describes his mother's family background pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33232">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Tyrone Dancy describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33233">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Tyrone Dancy talks about his father's career in the U.S. Navy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33234">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Tyrone Dancy describes how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33235">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Tyrone Dancy discusses his relationship with his father, which parent he takes after, and his four siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33236">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Tyrone Dancy describes his relationship with his siblings and his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33237">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Tyrone Dancy lists his siblings' birth dates</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33238">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Tyrone Dancy describes his growing up in Pennsylvania pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33239">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Tyrone Dancy describes his growing up in Pennsylvania pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33240">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Tyrone Dancy remembers the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33241">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Tyrone Dancy talks about his experience in elementary and junior high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33242">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Tyrone Dancy talks about working in a grocery store and his junior high school shop class</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33243">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Tyrone Dancy recalls being a sharp dresser and an average student in junior high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33244">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Tyrone Dancy describes his experience in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33245">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Tyrone Dancy describes his high school experiences and his part-time job working at a shoe store</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33246">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Tyrone Dancy describes the church of his youth and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33247">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Tyrone Dancy talks about vocational school and being drafted into the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33248">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Tyrone Dancy describes his basic training at Fort Bragg and his advanced training at Fort McClellan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33249">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Tyrone Dancy talks about his military duty in Vietnam in 1969</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33250">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Tyrone Dancy talks about his assignment to the 199th Infantry Brigade and training in Vietnam</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33251">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Tyrone Dancy describes his first mission in My Lai, Vietnam</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33252">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Tyrone Dancy describes his experience in combat during the Vietnam War and being injured by a rocket attack</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33253">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Tyrone Dancy describes his injuries from the rocket attack pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33254">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Tyrone Dancy describes his injuries from the rocket attack pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33255">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Tyrone Dancy discusses his transfer from the battlefield to the hospital</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33256">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Tyrone Dancy describes recovering from injuries from the Vietnam battlefield pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33257">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Tyrone Dancy describes recovering from injuries from the Vietnam battlefield pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33258">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Tyrone Dancy discusses his assignment to clerical duty following injuries he sustained in Vietnam</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33259">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Tyrone Dancy talks about being medically discharged from the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33260">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Tyrone Dancy discusses the medals he received for his service in the Vietnam War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33261">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Tyrone Dancy talks about friends who died in Vietnam and transitioning into civilian life</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

3$6

DATitle
Tyrone Dancy describes his growing up in Pennsylvania pt.2
Tyrone Dancy talks about his assignment to the 199th Infantry Brigade and training in Vietnam
Transcript
All right. Well, continue (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--So it was a--that's when I learned about really an intense and increased gang activity. They were shooting and then there was the element of drugs which I didn't learn about in West Philadelphia; I was neither a participant, a user, nor a transferor of such things. Once again I'm on a peripheral level of that and by me living there, it was assumed by those guys in other areas that I was part of what they considered the Valley; you're part of the Valley. The Valley consisted--they consid--the definition would be you have three high rise buildings in this large complex structure, and in the middle would be mostly where the gang wars would take place, almost like a coliseum and a Roman--a Roman coliseum where you would battle and duel and that sort of thing. No, I was not caught up in that, I was a spectator, seeing it happen.$$How did you stay out of that?$$One, by not participating. But now, you would say "Well how come you wasn't drawed in it or compelled?" All I can say it was a blessing (laughter); it was never compelled for me to participate by no one. No one sit back and say "You--when we fight, we wanna see you out there." It wasn't that sorta thing because I was not part of a gang. Well they didn't know my name, I was just living in that type of environment that I did not participate in. But, I was subject for injury because I was in that type of environment.$$Yeah, I know a lot of people (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--So I, I would get (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--compelled to join anyway.$$Yeah, I would get challenged as far as early in the morning getting ready to go to school, [Thomas] Fitzsimons [Junior High School], 26th and Cumberland; gangs would stop me, but I was fortunate or blessed enough to get out of that because they neither took me as a target so they neither--they did not do harm to me, they just questioned me as far as where I was from, and so that's how it went.$$Okay. Do you think it's because you didn't get there until you were sixteen [years old] that they really didn't recruit you? You think you were too old or--$$No, I never gave it thought and I don't know why, you know, how that developed. But I didn't--I think the key thing--I didn't hang out, I didn't loiter, I didn't do that type of things; I avoided it. It didn't appeal to me.$Okay, so your base was at Long Binh [Vietnam], right? And that's L-O-N-G and B-I-N-H?$$(NODDING HIS HEAD YES).$$And so what was Long--it was hot, now we know that--$$Right.$$--but how many soldiers were there?$$That was a processing center; that was your introduction to get you assigned to a unit processing; administration, getting adapted to the environment, and then actually the assignment to your unit; then you would be flown out with the other individuals that's assigned to either near where you're going or assigned to the unit you're going to. And of course my being the 199th Infantry Brigade--Long Binh.$$So you're assigned the 199th Infantry Brigade and--okay, so do you remember who your leaders were?$$No.$$Okay. Well, continue; you know this story now better than I can ever enhance (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--So, we're being flown into Long Binh and night falls; we're coming in--I believe the early evening, and we began to receive fire, or weapontry fire from the ground towards the plane we're on and the pilots say we cannot land, we're under attack, we have to circle until the incoming fire is subdued, and we're gonna circle and stay above ground as long as we can, as long as we have fuel. So that had us circle, and circle until that fire was contained--the gunfire at the plane. So we finally landed in the Long Binh area and we got out and got assembled and assigned to our units, and then we had a meal, whatever the meal was; I was not very hungry so I didn't eat. And so the next day we began training to get ourselves acclimated to the hot conditions in which we were in. So we began running, we began practicing fire, we began dealing with land mines--how to dismantle, disable a land mine, how to detect land mines, how to use effectively hand grenades, and once again running, learning to breathe properly, then going through training about who we're dealing with, what's guerrilla warfare, being enlisted to join possibly other units that would be a squad such as a three-man team, how to act as a listening post, to go out where the enemy is but don't be detected, and how to move without being detected, and all those guerrilla war factors. And finally, after the training, comes the day of my first mission.$$How long was the training?$$Well, let's see, it--two weeks.$$Okay.$$Through all that getting in the culture of Vietnam, two weeks.$$Okay. We're gonna pause (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--It coulda been, it coulda--yeah, within two weeks I--it coulda been as close as the second week.

Lt. Gen. Larry Jordan

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Larry R. Jordan was born on February 7, 1946 in Kansas City, Missouri. Jordan graduated from Central High School in Kansas City, Missouri in 1964 and was accepted in the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 1968, he received his B.A. degree in engineering from West Point and was commissioned into the U.S. Army as an armor officer. Jordan went on to earn his M.A. degree in history from Indiana University at Bloomington in 1975. His military education includes the U.S. Army Armor School, the U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, the U.S. Army Command and Staff College, the National War College at National Defense University as well as the U.S. Army Ranger Course and the U.S. Army Airborne Course. Jordan also received a certificate for completing the Harvard University Program in National and International Security Management in 1992.

Throughout his thirty-five years of service with the U.S. Armed Forces, Jordan has been assigned to a variety of staff and command assignments at the company, battalion, brigade, and installation levels. In 1993, Jordan reported to Fort Benning, Georgia where he served as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Armor Center and School. Promoted to lieutenant general in 1996, Jordan was appointed as the Inspector General of the U.S. Army where he worked closely with the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Army. In 1999, Jordan deployed as the deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army in Europe and the Seventh Army in Germany. He deployed in subsequent overseas missions to Germany, the Republic of Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. His last assignment from 2001 to 2003 was as the deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command headquarters at Fort Eustis, Virginia. In 2003, Jordan became senior vice president of Burdeshaw Associates.

Jordan’s military honors include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge as well as the Armor Association’s Order of St. George and the Field Artillery Association’s Order of St. Barbara.

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Larry R. Jordan was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 14, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.040

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/12/2013

Last Name

Jordan

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

R.

Schools

Central Academy of Excellence

United States Military Academy

Indiana University

Harvard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Larry

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

JOR07

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

The only legacy most of us leave in life is the people we touch. Either manage your own career or someone else will mismanage it for you.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

2/7/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Barbecue

Short Description

Lieutenant general (retired) Lt. Gen. Larry Jordan (1946 - ) is the former Commanding General of U.S. Army Armor Center, Inspector General of the Army and deputy commander of U.S. Army Europe, in Germany.

Employment

United States Army

Burdeshaw Associates

Favorite Color

Blue, Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:8808,110:9216,115:16170,186:21450,282:23530,319:31266,416:33730,430:34228,438:38793,535:49282,765:49578,770:61260,896:63979,950:65980,990:68648,1006:80580,1111:82188,1148:82590,1155:83796,1187:88133,1251:91059,1312:93754,1364:96141,1399:103182,1472:103537,1478:105525,1524:109050,1547:112038,1611:112453,1617:114445,1650:116437,1687:116852,1693:121468,1724:124576,1781:128118,1820:132748,1930:134380,1971:135128,1981:135536,1988:135808,1993:141174,2033:142464,2054:142894,2060:145130,2098:147640,2118:151510,2174$0,0:2761,70:12167,172:17836,238:19299,270:21532,313:31440,437:40376,562:40671,568:40907,573:43810,624:45268,647:45592,652:49591,697:49883,702:50175,707:70900,969:77200,1118:77704,1125:79720,1155:84515,1182:84956,1190:85334,1197:88519,1228:90139,1253:90463,1258:91354,1276:92083,1287:92893,1303:93622,1320:94675,1336:95404,1357:95890,1364:101072,1419:101336,1424:101732,1432:102392,1445:103250,1460:119950,1649:120508,1661:121159,1670:124500,1698:126200,1720:130618,1747:133114,1786:133582,1793:133972,1799:149340,1926:149914,1934:160818,2066:162836,2081:163704,2102:167768,2139:169890,2169:170210,2174:171490,2188:176722,2261:189188,2457:190298,2479:192710,2508
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35991">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Larry Jordan's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35992">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Larry Jordan lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35993">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Larry Jordan describes his mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35994">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Larry Jordan describes his mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35995">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Larry Jordan talks about his grandfather's education and career as a doctor in the early 1900s, and his own interest in genealogy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35996">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Larry Jordan talks about his mother's life in Missouri, her education at Emporia Teachers College and her career as a teacher</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35997">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Larry Jordan talks about his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35998">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Larry Jordan talks about his paternal grandparents, and his father's service in World War II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35999">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Larry Jordan talks about his paternal family's migration to Oklahoma, and his father's experience in the Philippines during World War II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36000">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Larry Jordan talks about his father's pride in his unit during World War II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36001">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Larry Jordan talks about how his parents met and married</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36002">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Larry Jordan describes his likeness to his parents, talks about his sister, and his grandmother living with his family when he was a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36003">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Larry Jordan describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36004">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Larry Jordan describes the neighborhood where he grew up in Kansas City, Missouri</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36005">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Larry Jordan talks about the layout of Kansas City, Missouri, school integration in the late 1950s, and moving to a different neighborhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36006">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Larry Jordan describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, in the 1950s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36007">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Larry Jordan talks about elementary school, his childhood interest in science, space and reading, and his favorite dog, Lady</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36008">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Larry Jordan talks about attending an integrated high school system in Kansas City, Missouri</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36009">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Larry Jordan talks about the changing demographics of his neighborhood in Kansas City after integration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36010">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Larry Jordan talks about integration in Kansas City, and his newly integrated elementary and high schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36011">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Larry Jordan talks about his high school teacher, Mrs. Thumland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36012">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Larry Jordan talks about his childhood jobs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36013">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Larry Jordan talks about his family's involvement in the Baptist Church</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36014">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Larry Jordan talks about the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36015">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Larry Jordan talks about his observation as a child of differing racial dynamics in different cities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36016">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Larry Jordan talks about his interests as a young boy growing up in Kansas City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36017">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Larry Jordan talks about his academic performance and his interest in sports in school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36018">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Larry Jordan talks about his interest in the ROTC program in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36019">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Larry Jordan talks about attending the United States Military Academy at West Point</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36020">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Larry Jordan talks about his high school graduating class</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36021">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Larry Jordan describes his experience at the United States Military Academy at West Point</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36022">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Larry Jordan talks about his long term associations with classmates from the United States Military Academy at West Point</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36023">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Larry Jordan describes a typical day at the United States Military Academy at West Point</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36024">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Larry Jordan talks about the academic curriculum at West Point, and the teaching of African American history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36025">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Larry Jordan talks about the training that he received at West Point</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36026">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Larry Jordan talks about mentorship and friendship at the United States Military Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36027">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Larry Jordan talks about the academic and athletic rigors of the United States Military Academy and his performance there</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36028">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Larry Jordan reflects upon the Civil Rights Movement and being an African American student at the United States Military Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36029">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Larry Jordan reflects upon the civil unrest and riots in the U.S. in the 1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36030">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Larry Jordan talks about the Vietnam War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36031">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Larry Jordan talks about the Vietnam War and graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36032">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Larry Jordan talks about his training and assignment to Fort Hood after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36033">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Larry Jordan describes how he met and married his wife, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36034">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Larry Jordan describes how he met and married his wife, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36035">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Larry Jordan describes his experience in Vietnam in 1969</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36036">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Larry Jordan talks about his assignment as a company commander at Fort Riley, training with the Marine Corps, and his assignment at Fort Benning</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36037">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Larry Jordan talks about an opportunity to teach history at West Point, and getting a master's degree from Indiana University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36038">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Larry Jordan talks about the indigenous people of Vietnam and their views of American soldiers during the Vietnam War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36039">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Larry Jordan talks about the diversity and close-knit nature of his unit in Vietnam</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36040">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Larry Jordan reflects upon the draft and racial problems within the U.S. armed forces in the 1960s and 1970s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36041">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Larry Jordan describes his experience at Indiana University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36042">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Larry Jordan talks about his master's thesis about the black experience at West Point</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36043">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Larry Jordan talks about the history of African Americans at West Point and in the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36044">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Larry Jordan talks about graduating from Indiana University and teaching history for three years at West Point</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36045">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Larry Jordan talks about attending the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36046">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Larry Jordan describes his family's experience in Germany from 1979 to 1982</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36047">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Larry Jordan talks about serving at the Pentagon in 1982, his promotion to lieutenant colonel, and his assignment at Fort Hood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36048">Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Larry Jordan talks about the commemorative monument to the 761st Tank Battalion, at Fort Knox, Kentucky</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36049">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Larry Jordan talks about his experience at the National War College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36050">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Larry Jordan talks about his mentor, General Frank Franks, serving as his Chief of Staff in Germany, and serving in Desert Storm</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36051">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Larry Jordan talks about Operation Desert Storm, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36052">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Larry Jordan talks about Operation Desert Storm, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36053">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Larry Jordan talks about being promoted to the rank of a 2-Star general and taking command of Fort Knox, Kentucky</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36054">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Larry Jordan talks about Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36055">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Larry Jordan talks about presenting the Army Task Force Report on Extremist Activity, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36056">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Larry Jordan talks about presenting the Army Task Force Report on Extremist Activity, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36057">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Larry Jordan talks about serving as the Inspector General of the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36058">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Larry Jordan describes his experience as Inspector General of the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36059">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Larry Jordan shares his views on the U.S. Army's approval of women for combat duty</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36060">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Larry Jordan talks about his promotion to lieutenant general, and his assignment as the deputy commander of the U.S. Army forces in Europe</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36061">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Larry Jordan talks about the changes to TRADOC after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36062">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Larry Jordan talks about his retirement from the U.S. Army in 2003 and his activities after retirement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36063">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Larry Jordan talks about his sons' careers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36064">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Larry Jordan reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36065">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Larry Jordan reflects upon his life and career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36066">Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Larry Jordan describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36067">Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Larry Jordan describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36068">Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Larry Jordan describes his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

11$7

DATitle
Larry Jordan talks about the changing demographics of his neighborhood in Kansas City after integration
Larry Jordan describes his experience in Vietnam in 1969
Transcript
So, where did the white population go?$$They moved, they moved away. I can remember during those times as we were looking for our new home, and searching, there were a couple of things that happened. I think a lot of the veterans of World War II began to use their GI Bill to not only go to school, but for loans. I think in the case of my family, they had saved enough where it was time to move. And in our old neighborhood, which I described as being very stable and, you know, the whole neighborhood knew who you were, and took care of you. I mean, Hillary Clinton says "It takes a village [to raise a child]." It takes a block, you know. And you're doing something bad down the road, and somebody will wear you out right there and then send you home and call your folks and say I wore out your son. And then you'd get it again, for whatever you were doing (laughter). You don't find that now. In fact, you get sued. But by the time we left that neighborhood, it had begun to change, in that there were some of the old families dying out and moving. And it began to see a little blight. And so, blacks who could afford it, moved to better houses. I mean, these were old houses. People tried to keep them up, but they moved to better houses. And the whites just moved further out, moved to the suburbs, moved to the south of the city. And I can remember driving around as we were looking, and you'd see "For Sale" signs. And you'd get to a block where every house had a sign in the yard that said, "This house is not for sale, especially to colors." I mean, you'd see signs like that. And whole blocks would sign contracts that they wouldn't sell--because once the first person sells, and a black or a Mexican or a Puerto Rican family moves in, then you have flight. And everybody sells, and they were worried about their property values, and all the rest. So, those were some--and I should have mentioned that during sights and sounds, too. But that was, that's what happened. So, my neighborhood then, of course, in about six years became, went from two families out of thirty, to probably twenty families out of thirty who were African American.$Okay. Now in '69 [1969] when you were sent to Vietnam [Vietnam War], where were you sent?$$I was sent to north of Saigon, to the 1st Infantry Division. I went to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry. I went Bravo Company, B Company. And I said, the Italian commander put myself and two classmates together in that company. The captain who was over us, was a year ahead of us at West Point [United States Military Academy]. And so, that company really, the leadership, really clicked, because we all knew each other and respected each other. Now, if we had not known each other, I think the same thing would have happened, because we were of the same profession, we were all trained. But it was just very interesting to me to be in that situation where the other lieutenants were my classmates, and the company commander had been a year ahead of us at West Point. I served my time, went to--if you ever buy a Michelin tire for your car, I was at the Michelin rubber plantation. I spent a lot of time there.$$Now where is that? Is that in--$$Vietnam.$$Vietnam? I didn't realize that.$$Yeah. The Michelin family, French family, owned a huge tract of land, and Michelin was the largest rubber plantation in Vietnam. At one time it was divided into four sectors, and each sector had housing for the workers. It had schools for the kids. It was like a little city. By the time we got there, the war was roaring. Only about a third of the plantation was working rubber, still producing rubber. Nobody lived there, but they would come out and collect the rubber. And the Michelin family would come in and inspect about every three months, to look at it, what was left of it. But I spent my time there. From the Saigon River north, it was what we referred to as jungle. It was really thick forest with a lot of bamboo and a lot of bad guys--Vietnamese, North Vietnamese regulars and Viet Cong. And so, my job was to conduct operations, keep Americans alive, and dispatch bad guys. That's what I did. I saw a lot of the countryside and admired some of the people. I was amazed at the little kids, amazed at things I saw in that country. I learned a lot. I left there after a year, had a son. My oldest son was born while I was there. And I got a chance to see him when he was about two months old, when I had what was called R&R, rest and relaxation, for a week. I went to Hawaii, had a wonderful time, saw my wife [Nannette Pippen] for the first time in several months, and saw my young son.

Sgt. Maj. Michele Jones

Army Noncommissioned Officer Michele S. Jones was born on November 24, 1963 in Baltimore, Maryland. She spent her childhood in the the Baltimore area, and graduated from Milford Mill High School. Upon graduation, Jones enrolled at Howard University but then transferred to Fayetteville State University, where she received her B.S. degree in business administration in 1994.

Jones enlisted in the United States Army in September 1982, and later became the first female selected class president of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy. Throughout her military career, Jones has served in many positions of leadership, including squad leader, section leader, platoon sergeant and first sergeant. Additionally, she was involved in every major contingency operation involving U.S. Armed Forces: Operations Desert Shield/Storm, Restore Hope, Provide Comfort, Joint Endeavor, Nobel Eagle, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2002, Jones became the first female appointed as the 9th Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army Reserve. In 2007, she retired after twenty-five years of service in both the active and reserve component.

Upon retirement, Jones continued to serve the youth and elderly as a motivational speaker for the civilian community. Through the Army’s Planning For life Program, Jones has given lectures and speeches to over forty-five thousand middle and high school students in the U.S. and abroad. In 2009, she was appointed under the administration of President Barack Obama as special assistant to the Secretary of Defense White House Liaison. Jones has also held positions as the special assistant and senior advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense, the principal deputy to the Under Secretary of Defense, and as the director of External Veterans/Military Affairs and Community Outreach.

Jones is the recipient of several military awards, including the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Parachutist Badge, the German Army Forces Airborne Wings and the Royal Thai Airborne Wings. In 2005, she received the Meritorious Service Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 2009, she received the Spirit of Democracy Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation as well as the Freedom’s Sister Award from the Ford Foundation. The National Congress of Black Women honored Jones in 2011 with the Shirley Chisholm Trailblazer Award.

Michele S. Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 14, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.016

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/14/2013

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

S

Schools

United States Army Sergeants Major Academy

Fayetteville State University

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Michele

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

JON33

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Dominican Republic

Favorite Quote

People Say God is good. I say chicken is good. God is amazing.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/24/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Crab (Blue)

Short Description

Noncommissioned officer Sgt. Maj. Michele Jones (1963 - ) the 9th Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army Reserve, was appointed under the Obama Administration as the Director of External Veterans/Military Affairs and Community Outreach in 2012.

Employment

Department of Defense

United States Office of Personnel Management

United States Army

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:2920,16:6489,109:18662,299:19190,306:21126,341:21654,347:23414,375:35613,543:39405,594:44080,708:54720,847:55290,854:56050,878:60090,937:60540,944:63165,1009:66015,1055:67140,1076:72722,1142:72954,1147:73650,1165:75970,1227:82960,1314:83671,1329:83987,1334:87384,1397:92519,1494:93625,1511:94020,1517:97440,1537:103619,1656:104158,1664:104928,1675:107007,1717:109317,1765:109933,1774:110780,1788:111550,1798:112243,1809:112859,1818:113167,1823:113475,1833:114091,1842:116324,1882:117171,1895:120867,1976:121406,1984:139075,2228:140265,2262:141965,2301:151146,2410:156916,2525:161990,2594:162230,2599:162530,2605:166910,2715:170090,2806:173150,2874:173870,2889:175550,2931:182152,3002:182836,3010:185690,3017$0,0:5928,171:13704,305:25856,492:50050,882:51010,907:51310,913:52270,934:52690,942:72745,1234:73345,1243:90733,1524:91219,1531:103484,1812:132842,2212:141145,2323:155570,2522:161306,2627:189207,3049:189592,3055:189900,3060:211582,3374:212734,3401:214398,3439:219518,3560:223719,3582:227880,3699:256290,4077:275414,4340:277932,4380:280710,4430
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36069">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Michele Jones' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36070">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Michele Jones lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36071">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Michele Jones describes her mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36072">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Michele Jones describes her mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36073">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Michele Jones describes her mother's education and career in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36074">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Michele Jones describes her father's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36075">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Michele Jones describes her father's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36076">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about her father in high school in Baltimore, Maryland and his drama club</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36077">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Michele Jones describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36078">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Michele Jones describes her close-knit family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36079">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Michele Jones describes how her parents met and married</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36080">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Michele Jones describes her earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36081">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Michele Jones describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36082">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Michele Jones talks about her exposure to religion as a child and her freedom to choose her faith</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36083">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Michele Jones describes her experience in elementary school, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36084">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Michele Jones describes her experience in elementary school, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36085">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Michele Jones describes her extracurricular activities as a child and her family's interest in music</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36086">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Michele Jones talks about her father serving for six years in the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36087">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Michele Jones describes her experience in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36088">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Michele Jones talks about playing softball and cheerleading in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36089">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Michele Jones talks about her teachers in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36090">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Michele Jones talks about going to the prom as a freshman in high school, and almost not attending her senior prom</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36091">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Michele Jones talks about her grades in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36092">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Michele Jones talks about her decision to join the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36093">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Michele Jones talks about her parents' reaction to her decision to join the U.S. Army and their support of her decision</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36094">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about her experience at basic training</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36095">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Michele Jones talks about her experience at advanced training in the U.S. Army, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36096">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Michele Jones talks about her experience at advanced training in the U.S. Army, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36097">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Michele Jones talks about her first assignment to Fort Carson, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36098">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Michele Jones describes her auditions to become a cheerleader for the Baltimore Colts and talks about their relocation to Indianapolis, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36099">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Michele Jones describes her auditions to become a cheerleader for the Baltimore Colts and talks about their relocation to Indianapolis, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36100">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Michele Jones describes her first assignment in Fort Carson, Colorado, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36101">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Michele Jones describes her first assignment in Fort Carson, Colorado, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36102">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Michele Jones describes her experience when stationed in Hanau, Germany in 1984</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36103">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Michele Jones describes her experience in Honduras and Panama and her decision to go to Fort Bragg, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36104">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about attending Fayetteville State University while stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36105">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Michele Jones talks about being mobilized during the Gulf War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36106">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Michele Jones talks about studying business administration at Fayetteville State University's Fort Bragg campus and her instructors there</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36107">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Michele Jones explains the role of a sergeant major and command sergeant major in the U.S. Army, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36108">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Michele Jones explains the role of a sergeant major and command sergeant major in the U.S. Army, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36109">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Michele Jones talks about the training received at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36110">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Michele Jones describes her experience at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36111">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Michele Jones talks about her class' involvement in the community while at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36112">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Michele Jones talks about her assignments as an instructor at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy and with the 78th Infantry Division</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36113">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Michele Jones recalls the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the death of her friend, Davin Green, in the Beirut barracks bombing of 1983</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36114">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about her retirement being postponed after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and being selected as command sergeant major</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36115">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Michele Jones describes her role as the command sergeant major for the U.S. Army Reserve</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36116">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Michele Jones describes being the first female command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Reserve and her African Americans predecessors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36117">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Michele Jones talks about educating the media about the U.S. Army Reserve</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36118">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Michele Jones talks about the challenges faced by the U.S. Army Reserve in the global war on terror</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36119">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Michele Jones discusses her role during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and talks about Lt. General Russel Honore's coordination of military relief efforts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36120">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Michele Jones talks about retiring from the U.S. Army in 2007 and founding The Bones Theory Group, LLC</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36121">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Michele Jones talks about The Bones Theory Group's focus on tutoring businesses on recruiting and retaining veterans</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36122">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about being invited to speak at the 2008 Democratic National Convention</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36123">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Michele Jones talks about speaking at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36124">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Michele Jones describes her service as special assistant to the Secretary of Defense and White House liaison</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36125">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Michele Jones describes her service as the special assistant and senior advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36126">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Michele Jones shares her views on the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't tell" policy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36127">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Michele Jones discusses her appointment as the director of External Veterans/Military Affairs and Community Outreach</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36128">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Michele Jones discusses restarting her consulting practice</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36129">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Michele Jones describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36130">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Michele Jones reflects upon her career choices</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36131">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Michele Jones reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36132">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Michele Jones talks about her daughters</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36133">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Michele Jones talks about receiving her parents' unconditional love and support</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36134">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Michele Jones talks about her friend, Janet Miller</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36135">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Michele Jones talks about how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36136">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Michele Jones describes her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

8$4

DATitle
Michele Jones talks about her retirement being postponed after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and being selected as command sergeant major
Michele Jones talks about the challenges faced by the U.S. Army Reserve in the global war on terror
Transcript
In, what, 2002, you're promoted to command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Reserves.$$I was selected. I was selected--$$Selected--$$--um-hum, yeah. I was promoted to command sergeant major in 1997 or promoted to sergeant major in 1997 and selected for command sergeant major in 1997 as well. Two months later they held a Command Sergeant Major selection board. But I was selected as command sergeant major of the Army Reserves in 2002.$$Right, 'cause you had been previously command sergeant major of the 78th [Infantry] Division, right?$$Right, exactly.$$All right, so 2002, now, you were retiring on the day, you know, that 9/11 [September 11, 2001; terrorist attacks on the United States] took place, September 11, 2001. So you decided to re-enlist or--$$No, my retirement was pulled. Retirement, most people think you, you know, you hit twenty years [of service], you automatically retire. But, no, you have to be approved to retire from the military, under, even under the best circumstance, even without anything going on. So you request to retire and then it's approved, considering and there's no other reason not to. And in most cases, there's no reason not to. They check to make sure you have the adequate number of years, etc. But in my case, my retirement was pulled before it was approved because of the fact that we were talking about, September 11th, October, November, December, we're talking about less than ninety-four days away. And I had a, even though I was a command sergeant major with a non-specific career field, 'cause that's what command sergeant major--my background was civil affairs. So, you know, anyone in the Special Operations community, we were not, we were not being allowed. They have what's called "stop loss." Whenever there's a war going on, potential, anything like that, the military does Army "stop loss." In other words, stop anybody from leaving be it retirement, you know, the getting out. As long as it's not a medical reason, "stop loss." And so all things are put on hold. And so at that point, when, you know, my boss, Joe Ulmney [ph.], said, you know, Sergeant Major, you know, you're not gonna retire, you're--and I said, okay, how long will you think? A year, two years, probably about a year. So I said, okay. Well, then as things evolved and played out, you don't wanna retire. You don't wanna get out when someone's attacked your country. Now, you're like, okay, what do I need to do, okay. So my unit--I'm still the division command sergeant major. My replacement is not in yet. So, and that was those things that would happen in those ninety-plus days before I retired, to find my replacement to help them onboard. But now, I'm like, I've got all my unit. I got reserve soldiers that are being activated and mobilized because we run these power projection platforms, these mobilization stations where soldiers that are deploying. This is our mission. So I'm like, there's no way I'm retiring, you know. I don't want to retire.$And what--you alluded to some of 'em, but what were the major issues [faced by the U.S. Army Reserve], I guess?$$Some of the major issues were the fact that the equipment that the Army Reserve had during training when they did train was outdated, obsolete, etc. The [U.S.] Army never funded--the funding system for the Reserve was outdated, you know, based on some crazy calculation that didn't even make sense. So we didn't have the resources to buy current equipment. We didn't have the resources to have soldiers come in and train all the time, in an environment, as the saying goes, "Train as you fight." Well, we couldn't train as we fought. We didn't have the equipment. We didn't have the locations. We didn't have the money. The other piece of it was soldiers in the IRR [Individual Ready Reserve]. They received no training. There wasn't any resources for that. That was one thing. The other piece was, they kept talking about the fact that reserve soldiers have, are going into battle without having up-armored vehicles. In other words, all the protection that the vehicles needed. No one did, because we were fighting a type of war that we had never fought before. Those type of units weren't expected to be anywhere near IEDs [improvised explosive devices], RPGs [rocket propelled grenades]. Although they were traditionally in the rear, there was no rear. So no vehicles were--I shouldn't say, no. Vehicles that traditionally would not have been exposed, they didn't have it. So therefore, it wasn't just indicative of the Reserve. It was the simple fact that we were fighting a different war. Same thing like in Vietnam. It was a different type of warfare. So we had equipment that did not fit the scenario, period. So what did they do? And so my job was to explain. Well, this is what we're doing now. Are we building and shipping them over? In some cases, yes, but we were doing it in theater too, you know, actually physically--I could talk about what they were doing to vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? Because I actually went and went to those facilities to see what they did. So those were some of the other issues as well, and then the third piece is the training, how long they were spending at mobilization stations to train, to prepare. Well, we didn't have the resources to train 'em more than two weeks in any given year. So you don't wanna send someone over that's not prepared. So, yes, Love One, (unclear) they're gonna stay there because I need to know that they are trained, you know, so that they can come back to you whole. So those were some of the top three issues. But taking it at surface value, you know, it was a, it was a mess. It was a "hot mess" as they like to say, but you need to delve into the whys.$$So, I think you alluded to this earlier too, that the U.S. had never, the U.S. government had never gone as deep into the reserves as it did during the Iraq conflict?$$Absolutely, absolutely.$$So reserves were finding themselves overseas in war, maybe for the first time since when, I mean--$$There were--reserve soldiers were deployed in Vietnam [War] as well, but, but you also had a draft during Vietnam, okay, whereas global war on terrorism, there was no draft. The extra soldiers that were needed came from the Individual Ready Reserve, who quite frankly, remember when I, as I stated, they're, you know, when you join the Army, enlist in the Army, you have a eight-year, mandatory, statutory obligation. So someone could have been in active component, let's say three years. But the last time they touched a weapon might have been three years 'cause they haven't met that eight-year mark. So you're pulling out of that population as well. So there's a, again, a lot of different dynamics to the Reserve, the larger population or the population of the reserves had grown exponentially since, you know, the Vietnam War, it was different. You could go into the Army during the Vietnam War and say, I wanna be active. I wanna be Reserve, I wanna be [National] Guard, you know. This time, we pulled, you know--or you were drafted. No, we didn't draft anybody for the global war on terror. We pulled from our own reserves, "reserves," henceforth, the word "reserves." So we were used in a different capacity, you know. You didn't have to start from scratch, but you did have to start some serious retraining for this war.$$Okay.

Col. Porcher Taylor, Jr.

Retired colonel and education administrator Porcher L. Taylor was born on August 9, 1925 in Jacksonville, Florida to Porcher L., Sr. and Mary Bell Taylor. Taylor’s father was the founder, publisher, and editor of the Florida Tattler. The weekly newspaper ran from 1934 until his death in 1964. Taylor was hired by his father to work in the family business, Taylor and Son Printing Company, Inc. Taylor worked as a typesetter and a pressman until 1943, when he joined the U.S. Navy and spent three years on tour in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces, he was able to enroll at Tuskegee Institute with support from the Army’s G.I. Bill.

In 1946, Taylor enlisted in the Tuskegee Institute Reserve Officer Training Corps – the precursor to the famed Tuskegee Airmen – and completed his training in 1949. Taylor also played varsity football for three years as first-string fullback and was selected as one of Tuskegee Institute’s All-Time Greatest Football Athletes in 1985. With the outbreak of the Korean War, Taylor was deployed to the Pacific Theater, where he served with the 82nd Airborne Division. In 1971, Taylor became the first African American promoted to full colonel at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Taylor is one of few living Americans who served the United States in three major wars – World War II, Koran War and Vietnam War – in both the U.S. Navy and Army. He served in the Navy for three years and the Army for twenty-five years.

In 1961, Taylor received his M.S. degree in counseling from Virginia State University (VSU), where he also served as president for student affairs and as director of counseling. He also served as professor of military science and tactics at VSU. He was then selected to enter a doctoral program at the University of South Carolina in 1968; and, in 1972 he became one of the first two African Americans to earn a Ph.D. degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina.

Taylor has been recognized for his many contributions. His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and Army Commendation Medal. He was also the recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, an honor shared by former U.S. President Gerald Ford and astronaut Neil Armstrong. Taylor lives with his wife Ann in Petersburg, Virginia.

Porcher L. Taylor was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 12, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.196

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/15/2012

Last Name

Taylor

Maker Category
Middle Name

L'Engle

Occupation
Schools

New Stanton High School

Tuskegee University

Virginia State University

University of South Carolina

Command and General Staff College

Advanced Infantry Officers School

U.S. Army War College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Porcher

Birth City, State, Country

Jacksonville

HM ID

TAY13

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Honolulu, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Do something good every day for somebody other than yourself. and AIRBORNE!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/9/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Petersburg

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pudding (Bread)

Short Description

Colonel (ret) and educator Col. Porcher Taylor, Jr. (1925 - ) is one of the few servicemen that served the United States in three major wars – World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War – in both the Navy and Army.

Employment

Taylor and Son Printing Company

United States Army

Virginia State University

City of Petersburg, Virginia

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33076">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Porcher Taylor's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33077">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33078">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33079">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about growing up in Georgia, and his mother's education and faith</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33080">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33081">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about his father's newspaper, 'The Florida Tattler', pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33082">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about his father's newspaper, 'The Florida Tattler', pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33083">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor talks about his paternal grandfather's entrepreneurship</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33084">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor talks about his paternal grandfather, Dennis Taylor's involvement in the Knights of Pythias and his move to Jacksonville, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33085">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about segregation in Jacksonville, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33086">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor discusses how his grandmother was deceived by her lawyer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33087">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about his father's education at Tuskegee University in the George Washington Carver Class of 1922</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33088">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about his parents attending church</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33089">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33090">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about his sisters, Virginia Anita Williams and Betty Ruth Belton</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33091">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33092">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Porcher Taylor describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up during segregation in Jacksonville, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33093">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Porcher Taylor talks about starting school in Jacksonville, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33094">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience in school in Jacksonville, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33095">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about his interest in sports while growing up, and his favorite subjects in school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33096">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor talks about his interest in reading, and black newspapers while he was growing up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33097">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about his father's printing business, and his father's death in 1964</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33098">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about his favorite teachers in grade school and being a member of the Boy Scouts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33099">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience in high school in Jacksonville, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33100">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about his decision to join the U.S. Navy during World War II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33101">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor describes his decision to attend Tuskegee University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33102">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor describes his experience in the U.S. Navy in 1943 and 1944</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33103">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor talks about the segregated U.S. Navy during World War II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33104">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about being assigned to the South Pacific Theatre in World War II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33105">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience aboard a U.S. Navy submarine chaser in World War II and the end of the war</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33106">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about his return to the U.S. from World War II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33107">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about race-related altercations in the U.S. military, and his experience after returning from World War II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33108">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor talks about his discharge from his World War II assignment and the end of his career in the U.S. Navy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33109">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor talks about his assignment as a guard for Japanese prisoners of war in World War II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33110">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about attending Tuskegee University on the GI Bill</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33111">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor talks about playing football at Tuskegee University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33112">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about meeting George Washington Carver at Tuskegee University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33113">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about meeting his first wife at Tuskegee University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33114">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about majoring in commercial industries at Tuskegee University, and being called back into active duty during the Korean War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33115">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about segregation in the U.S. military</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33116">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor describes his experience in the U.S. Army at Fort Jackson, South Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33117">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Porcher Taylor describes his experience in the Korean War and in the 25th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33118">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Porcher Taylor talks about the desegregation of the U.S. Army and the importance of ROTC programs in colleges</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33119">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Porcher Taylor talks about his assignments at Schofield Barracks following his return from the Korean War in 1955</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33120">Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Porcher Taylor talks about earning his master's degree in counselor education at Virginia State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33121">Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Porcher Taylor talks about his career in education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33122">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor talks about desegregation in Columbia, South Carolina, and the reaction at Fort Jackson to Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33123">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about his mentor at Fort Jackson, and describes his decision to attend the University of South Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33124">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience at the University of South Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33125">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience at Uiojongbu, Korea, and becoming a member of Lions Club International</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33126">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about retiring from the U.S. Army and serving as the vice president for student affairs at Virginia State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33127">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about his service in the Organizational Effective Training Unit of the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33128">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about his service in the Vietnam War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33129">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor talks about his service in the Organizational Effective Training Unit of the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33130">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Porcher Taylor talks about his life after retirement and his awards and honors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33131">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Porcher Taylor reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33132">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor reflects upon his life and career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33133">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33134">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor shares how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33135">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about being elected as the military aide-de-camp by the governors of Virginia, and receiving the Noel F. Parrish Award</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33136">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor describes his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$1

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Porcher Taylor talks about race-related altercations in the U.S. military, and his experience after returning from World War II
Porcher Taylor describes his mother's family background
Transcript
You know, at that time, just before that, before the war [World War II] ended, '45 [1945], there was, and I think I'm right, an artillery unit from Ohio, black. They got in some difficulty over there. And they shot up the town almost. I don't, don't print that 'cause I'm not sure about that. That was just a rumor, that was just a rumor. I'm not sure. But I know something like that happened down in--just across the Texas boarder over into Mexico.$$Oh, you mean back in the early part of the century.$$Yeah.$$You're talking about Brownsville--$$Yeah, the 24th Infantry--$$Yeah, there's a Houston, what they called the Houston [Texas] riot and the Brownsville raid.$$Yeah, okay, you got it, Brownsville. Well, you know that, so I don't have to--$$Yeah, it was two of 'em, 1917 and 19--I can't think of the other one.$$Right, so that's easy for me to believe that the Ohio artillery unit did do that.$$Yeah, there seems to be some altercations that are not recorded in history, that took place in the military in those days, that were, you know, were kind of hushed, kept on the hush, you know--$$That's right, that's right. Okay, we came, we left Hawaii coming back to the [mainland United] States. We docked at Treasure Island, Treasure Island, right off from San Francisco [California], took leave, liberty and all that kind of stuff. Then we moved up the West Coast. We went up and docked in Bremerton, Washington, up near Seattle [Washington] and went into a [U.S.] Navy shipyard up there in Washington Lake, what they called it. And we were just lounging around up there, having a good time, going on liberty and so forth. And I remember one thing that happened. Of course, I told you there were only two blacks on that submarine chaser. This guy bet me that I would not jump off that boat into the Washington Lake, big lake. I said, yeah. That was the easiest five dollars I ever won in my life. I jumped off right in the (unclear). And I was a swimmer, a Boy Scout. I could outswim anybody in the world, whatever. Anyway, so we left there, came back out through Juan de Fuca. That's a little waterway going in from Bremerton, Washington, into Washington Lake, and went back down through, past San Francisco, down to the Panama Canal and came on up the Coast of Florida, and back up to Navy Amphibious Base, at Little Creek, Virginia. But before that, before we got up there, down in Panama, I was, I got the surprise of my life in Panama. We went on liberty, you know, had a good time and so forth on the Balboa side, not on the Colon side and the Panama City side. But there, I went to the bank to cash a check, and there were two lines. I said, wait a minute--we're back in America, two lines, what you mean two lines? They didn't call it black and white or colored and white. They called it gold and silver. So, which is more valuable gold, than silver? So the blacks stood in the silver line and the whites in the other line. Surprised the heck out of me, in Panama City, whatever.$$So they had segregated lines in Panama?$$Yeah. Ain't that something? Instead of black, colored and white.$Now, I'm gonna ask about your family history. I'm gonna ask about your mother's side of the family and your father's side, but separately, so we don't get 'em mixed up.$$I understand.$$So can you give us your mother's full name and spell it for us, please?$$Yes, my mother, first name, Mary, M-A-R-Y, Bell, B-E-double-L.$$And--$$Oh, I need to get maiden name, I'm sorry. Mary Virginia, Virginia her middle name--$$Okay.$$V-I-R-G-I-N-I-A, and Bell, of course, was her maiden name.$$Okay, all right.$$She was born and reared in Albany, Georgia.$$And what year was she born?$$Nineteen zero five [1905].$$Okay, now, what can you tell us about your mother's side of the family? How far back can you trace them and what were they doing in history? Are there any stories?$$You know, unfortunately, I can't go beyond three generations. And, of course, there's a reason for that. I can go back to my grandmother and grandfather on her side, and I can go back to supposedly, her father, my grandmother's father. She was very light-skinned, and I guess you could say she could "pass", if that's the right word today.$$Well, what was your grandmother's name?$$Stella.$$Stella, okay.$$Stella Bell. She married a Snyder Bell, S-N-Y-D-E-R. In fact, he was born, oh, I'm guessing, about fifteen to twenty years after slavery. And it's hard to follow them back because--and I'm not so sure I'm authorized to say what I'm about to say. But if (laughter), if you don't wanna show it, don't. But back in those days, and I've done a little bit of research on this, that my color would not be the color that I am if the, the Master, the Master, they called him, back on the farm where most blacks were raised back in those days, if he hadn't taken liberties from my great great grandmother or whatever it happened to have been. I would not be this color today.$$Okay, so the great, great grandfather was the Master, right?$$Absolutely.$$Okay.$$Absolutely. During my research, that's what I found out, yes. And, of course, my grandparents both came out of Sasa, Georgia and Cusped, Georgia, and they moved to Jacksonville, Florida later.$$Okay, now, you were gonna tell us something about your great grandfather, your mother's [grand]father, right?$$Well, all I can tell you is that he was (laughter) white.$$No, that's the great grand--your mother's father was white, you're saying?$$No.$$Okay.$$My mother's grandfather and my great grandfather.$$Right, right, that's what I thought.$$I'm sorry, I--$$Now, do you know anything about your mother's parents?$$Yes, quite a bit, yes. They settled, as I mentioned in Jacksonville, Florida.$$Okay, okay.$$And, yes, you had another question about that?$$Well, their names, your mother's grandfather's name was--I mean your mother's father's name was what? Do you know?$$Snyder Bell, S-N-Y-$$Okay, Snyder, okay.$$Snyder Bell, uh-huh.$$Okay, so I'm missing a generation here somewhere. But I'm not, let's see, 'cause I got your--okay, I've got your, your grandmother was Stella Bell, grandfather, Snyder Bell--$$Oh, my grandmother's mother and father.$$Right, right.$$The only thing I know is, as I mentioned earlier, that he was white, and he took advantage of her mother.$$Okay, all right. Now, I got it.$$That's about all I can tell you about that.$$Okay, all right, 'cause I thought I'd skipped a generation, but, you know, but--$$Yes.$$Okay.$$And I might make it--not a real comparison between my paternal grandparents and my maternal, when we get to that part.$$Okay, all right.

Gen. Julius Becton, Jr.

Military Officer and federal government administrator Julius W. Becton, Jr. was born on June 29, 1926 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania to Julius Wesley and Rose Banks Becton. He joined the Army Air Corps in July 1944 and graduated from Infantry Officer Candidate School in 1945. While on active duty, Becton graduated from Prairie View A & M College in 1960 with his B.S. degree in mathematics and the University of Maryland in 1966 with his M.A. degree in economics. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College and the National War College. Post his military service, Becton has received honorary doctorate degrees from Huston-Tillotson College, Muhlenberg College, Prairie View A & M University, The Citadel, Dickinson College, and American Public University System.

Becton joined the 93rd Infanry Division in the Pacific at the end of World War II and was separated from the Army in 1946, but returned to active duty after President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 to desegregate the military in 1948. Rising to the rank of Lieutenant General in 1978 he commanded the 1st Cavalry Division, the United States Army Operations Test and Evaluation Agency, and the VII Corps – the Army’s largest combat corps in Europe during the Cold War. Becton also served in the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and retired from the U.S. Army in 1983 after nearly 40 years of service. However, his public service career was far from over.

From 1984 to 1985, he served as the director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance in the United States Agency for International Development. He then served as the third director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency from 1985 to 1989 under President Ronald Reagan. In his mid-sixties, Becton began a new career, that of education administrator. From 1989 to 1994, he was the fifth president of Prairie View A & M University, his alma mater – becoming the first graduate of Prairie View A & M University to attain flag rank in the military. In 1996, he became the superintendent of the Washington, D.C. public school system.

Among his decorations are the Distinguished Service Medal, two Silver Stars, two Legion of Merit medals and two Purple Hearts, along with the Knight Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Germany. Becton married to Louise Thornton, and they have five children: Shirley, Karen, Joyce, Renee, and Wesley. They also have eleven grandchildren and three great grandchildren

Julius W. Becton, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 27, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.227

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/27/2012

2/14/2013

Last Name

Becton

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Wesley

Occupation
Schools

Army Command and General Staff College

University of Maryland

Lower Merion High School

Officer Candidate School

Muhlenberg College

National War College

Joint Forces Staff College

Bryn Mawr Elementary School

Lower Merion Junior High School

Prairie View A&M University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Julius

Birth City, State, Country

Bryn Mawr

HM ID

BEC02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Aruba

Favorite Quote

Get it done.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/29/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Liver, Onions, Baked Beans, Cole Slaw

Short Description

Military officer Gen. Julius Becton, Jr. (1926 - ) , was a retired Lieutenant General and the first African American officer to command a Corps in the U.S. Army (VII U.S. Corps).

Employment

United States Army

United States Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Prairie View A&M University

District of Columbia Public Schools

Favorite Color

Cavalry Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34213">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Julius Becton's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34214">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Julius Becton lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34215">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Julius Becton describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34216">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Julius Becton talks about his mother, Rose Inez Banks</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34217">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Julius Becton describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34218">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Julius Becton talks about his father, and his strong work ethic</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34219">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Julius Becton talks about his family's involvement in the church</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34220">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Julius Becton talks about his brother, and how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34221">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Julius Becton describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34222">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Julius Becton describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34223">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Julius Becton talks about growing up in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34224">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Julius Becton talks about his father's job in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34225">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Julius Becton talks about his father being his role model</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34226">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Julius Becton talks about growing up with undertones of racial segregation in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34227">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Julius Becton describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34228">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Julius Becton talks about his family's visits to North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34229">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Julius Becton describes his experience in elementary school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34230">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Julius Becton talks about his brother, Joseph William Becton</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34231">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Julius Becton talks about studying mathematics in college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34232">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Julius Becton talks about his teachers in elementary school, and his progress to high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34233">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Julius Becton talks about his childhood jobs, and his father's income</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34234">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Julius Becton talks about his involvement with Saints Memorial Baptist Church since his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34235">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Julius Becton talks about his involvement in sports while growing up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34236">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Julius Becton talks about how he met his wife</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34237">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Julius Becton talks about joining the Civil Air Patrol in 1941, becoming eligible for flight school, and turning it down to command a unit</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34238">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Julius Becton talks about his father's political affiliation and his decision to enroll at Muhlenberg College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34239">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Julius Becton talks about joining the Civil Air Patrol in 1941 and the Army Air Corp Enlisted Reserve in 1943</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34240">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Julius Becton talks about others who graduated from his high school, and his desire to join the Army Air Corps</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34241">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Julius Becton talks about attending Officer Candidate School in 1944</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34242">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Julius Becton reflects upon his experience with segregation in the South in the 1940s, and the changes that have occurred since then</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34243">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Julius Becton talks about his experience in the U.S. Army while stationed in the Philippines</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34244">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Julius Becton talks about his separation from the U.S. Army in 1946, joining Muhlenberg College on a football scholarship, and getting injured there</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34245">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Julius Becton talks about playing football at Muhlenberg College, as a center on offense and a linebacker on defense</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34246">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Julius Becton talks about getting married in 1948</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34247">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Julius Becton talks about returning to the U.S. Army in 1948, and his parents' support of him financially</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34248">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Julius Becton describes his experience in the Korean War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34249">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Julius Becton describes how his unit, the 9th Infantry Regiment, Second Division, was integrated in the midst of the Korean War, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34250">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Julius Becton describes how his unit, the 9th Infantry Regiment, Second Division, was integrated in the midst of the Korean War, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34251">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Julius Becton talks about his return to the U.S. from the Korean War in 1951</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34252">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Julius Becton talks about his assignments after returning from the Korean War in 1951</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34253">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Julius Becton talks about going to Prairie View A&M University as an assistant professor of military science and to complete his degree</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34254">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Julius Becton describes his experience on tour in Germany</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34255">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Julius Becton describes his success on tour in Germany, and how he was able to attend the Commander and General Staff College (CGSC)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34256">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Julius Becton describes his experience at Prairie View A&M University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34257">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Julius Becton describes his experience at Command General Staff College (CGSC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34258">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Julius Becton describes his assignment in France</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34259">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Julius Becton talks about his experience at the Armed Forces Staff College and the challenges to finding a house for his family in Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34260">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Julius Becton talks about earning his master's degree in economics</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34261">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Julius Becton describes how he was assigned to join the U.S. Army in Vietnam</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34262">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Julius Becton describes his experience in the U.S. Army in Vietnam</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34263">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Julius Becton reflects upon the Vietnam War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34264">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Julius Becton discusses race relations in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34265">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Julius Becton discusses his thirteen-point management philosophy in terms of commanding troops</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34266">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Julius Becton talks about his service in the Vietnam War and the get-togethers of his command staff</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34267">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Julius Becton describes how General Colin Powell was selected to attend the National War College in 1975</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34268">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Julius Becton talks about his training at the National War College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34269">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Julius Becton talks about his assignment as the brigade commander of the 2nd Brigade, Second Armor Division in Fort Hood, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34270">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Julius Becton discusses trends in the number of women and their roles in the military between the 1970s and 2012</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34271">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Julius Becton talks about his selection and experience as the Branch Chief of Armor and being promoted to the rank of brigadier general in 1972</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34272">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Julius Becton describes his experience as deputy commander at Fort Dix, New Jersey</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34273">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Julius Becton describes his experience as a division commander at Fort Hood, Texas, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34274">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Julius Becton describes his experience as a division commander at Fort Hood, Texas, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34275">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Julius Becton talks about mentoring in the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34276">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Julius Becton talks about his service as the commander of the Operational Test and Evaluation Agency (OTEA)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34277">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Julius Becton talks about being recognized as one of the '100 Most Influential Blacks' by Ebony Magazine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34278">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Julius Becton describes his experience as the commander of the U.S. VII Corps stationed in Cold War Europe</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34279">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Julius Becton talks about his appointments as Deputy Commander of Training for TRADOC and as the Army Inspector of Training</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34280">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Julius Becton describes his decision to accept the position of Director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance at U.S. AID</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34281">Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Julius Becton talks about becoming the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34301">Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Julius Becton talks about his former colleague, educator Arlene Ackerman</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34302">Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Julius Becton reflects upon the crisis in urban education in the U.S.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34303">Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Julius Becton describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34304">Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Julius Becton discusses the crisis in today's community regarding physical and behavioral health</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34305">Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Julius Becton discusses the prospects for young people who are interested in joining the military</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34306">Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Julius Becton reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34307">Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Julius Becton talks about his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34308">Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Julius Becton talks about receiving the George Catlett Marshall Medal in 2007</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34309">Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Julius Becton talks about the gathering of African American Flag Officers and being honored by the Buffalo Soldiers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34310">Tape: 10 Story: 10 - Julius Becton talks about his autobiography, 'Becton: Autobiography of a Soldier and Public Servant'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34282">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Slating of Julius Becton's interview, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34283">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Julius Becton's describes the ceremony honoring his retirement from the U.S. Army in 1983</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34284">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Julius Becton's reflects upon the changes in the status of African American soldiers and women in the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34285">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Julius Becton reflects upon the U.S. Military's repeal of the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34286">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Julius Becton describes his service as the director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance in the USAID</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34287">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Julius Becton describes his experience as the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34288">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Julius Becton talks about the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) since his service there, and discusses the role of FEMA</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34289">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Julius Becton talks about Lieutenant General Russel Honore's service towards disaster relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34290">Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Julius Becton describes his experience as the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34291">Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Julius Becton talks about becoming the president of Prairie View A&M University in 1989</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34292">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Julius Becton describes his selection as the president of Prairie View A and M University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34293">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Julius Becton describes his experience as the president of Prairie View A and M University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34294">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Julius Becton discusses the reputation of Prairie View A and M University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34295">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Julius Becton describes how he became the superintendent of the Washington, District of Columbia public school system in 1996</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34296">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Julius Becton discusses the challenges faced by the Washington, District of Columbia public school system</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34297">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Julius Becton describes his experience as the superintendent of the Washington, District of Columbia public school system, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34298">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Julius Becton describes his experience as the superintendent of the Washington, District of Columbia public school system, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34299">Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Julius Becton talks about the challenges that are faced by the public school system in Washington, District of Columbia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34300">Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Julius Becton describes his life after retiring as the superintendent of the public school system in Washington, District of Columbia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34311">Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Julius Becton talks about his relative, HistoryMaker Thelma Groomes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34312">Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Julius Becton reflects upon his life and career, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34313">Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Julius Becton reflects upon his life and career, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34314">Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Julius Becton talks about his parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34315">Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Julius Becton talks about how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/34316">Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Julius Becton describes his photographs</a>

DASession

1$2

DATape

10$9

DAStory

8$1

DATitle
Julius Becton talks about receiving the George Catlett Marshall Medal in 2007
Julius Becton describes his selection as the president of Prairie View A and M University
Transcript
Let me just point out that, now, you received the George Catlett Marshall Medal in 2007--$$2007.$$Right, yeah. Now, this is, now, tell us the significance of that medal?$$Well, the Association of the United States Army, AUSA, provides, they give an award in the name of General Marshall, "Marshall" being the former Chief of Staff of the Army, also former Secretary of State and a few other things. It's the highest award they have. And I'm very fortunate to have been selected for that. Some of the other award recipients, well, Jim Baker was just last year, the former Chief of Staff to Reagan [President Ronald Reagan]. He was also his Secretary of State and so forth. Colin Powell [General Colin Powell; former Secretary of State] is a recipient of that, and they have a long list of solid citizens. I was--it was rather amusing how I got that award. I mean I got aware of it. I was a trustee in the Association of the United States Army and Vice Superintendent, Vice Chancellor. At a meeting for the association's Council of Trustees, the meeting got started, and the chairman of the board, Nick Chapra (ph.), Nick, who at that time was the Chairman of the Board and CEO at General Dynamics, convened the meeting and then said, "Julius, would you mind stepping out for a minute?" Why? Because I said so. Yes, sir. I go out, came right back in five minutes. And he had just announced to the board that the committee had recommended Julius Becton to become the Marshall recipient in 2007. And you could have knocked me over with a feather. I think you have some pictures in that folder of the group, of the family appearing for that presentation.$All right, so we're on a cliffhanger, and you found out why that you were selected [as the president of Prairie View A&M University, Texas]--$$Yes, I found out why the board selected me. The Board of Regents is like the Board of Trustees or Board of Directors of any institution. It's made up of, in Texas, all graduates of Texas A&M [University]. They are appointed by the governor, and all the [U.S.] Army officers, retired, National Guard, but not active. And they were looking for a "butt kicker," not an academician, their term, not mine. And the other person was an academician. And so, I got unanimous selection and went up to the campus. And I should have known this before I got there, but I didn't. Another reason that they were in dire straits, the Texas legislature had said in writing that Prairie View, you get your acts together and deal with your funding or we will put a conservator in. And that was my welcoming to the Prairie View A and M University.$$Okay, now, how did you feel about that? You're being hired as a "butt kicker." Did you wind your foot up and get ready or did you say wait a minute. What's going on?$$No, I, having been a student at the institution, albeit a non-traditional student because I was in ROTC [Reserve Officers' Training Corps] duty as a major--captain, excuse me. But I knew about a third of the staff and faculty, which I felt was pretty good, a good going in. And I found out quickly that there were about three different groups of people, particularly, staff and administration, about 20, 25 percent, "We don't want a soldier coming in here as the president." And on the other side of that 20, 25 percent, "We know Becton. He's just the right person for it. He'll do a good job here." And that group in the middle did not know me and are waiting, take a look, let's see what he's gonna do. And they had rumors that we're gonna start having reveille, we're gonna start wearing combat boots. We're gonna start saluting, all those idiotic things that people come up with on campuses.

Maj. Gen. Nathaniel James

Military Officer Nathaniel James is the former commanding General of the New York Army National Guard. Born on July 28, 1935, in the Branchville, South Carolina, his family migrated north to New York City during his childhood. James received early schooling in the New York City Public School system, and attended Theodore Roosevelt High School before graduating from Bronx Vocational High School. James then enrolled at the State University of New York, earning his A.A. degree in business and his B.A. degree in political science. After completing the ROTC training in college and subsequent two years of enlisted service, James was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1959, through the Army Artillery and Missile School.

During his 33 year career, James held a variety of positions and continued to develop his institutional knowledge of Army command, operations and strategy. James’ military education includes the Army Artillery and Missile School; Army Transportation School; Army Command and General Staff College; Army War College; and the National Interagency Counter Drugs Institute. In 1975, James became the commander for the 369th Transportation Battalion, 42nd Division Artillery and 42nd Division Support Command. Between 1988 and 1992, he served as the assistant adjutant general, Headquarters State Area Command, New York Army National Guard. Promoted to Major General on December 29, 1992, James became the first African American to obtain that rank in the history of the New York Army National Guard.

In addition to previously commanding the 369th Transportation Battalion James is the founder and president of both the 369th Veteran’s Association, Inc. and the 369th Historical Society, Inc. The 369th Regiment was originally called the 15th New York Infantry and they were the first African American regiment to engage in combat during World War II. After the war, 171 soldiers in that regiment were awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French Government, and German soldiers gave them the name, “Harlem Hell Fighters,” for the courage and valor they displayed in battle. James maintains hundreds of photographs and dozens of artifacts, papers, and other items to honor the legacy of the 369th Regiment.

James’ military decorations and awards include, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Medal, and the New York Humanitarian Service Medal.

Nathaniel James was interviewed by the The HistoryMakers on August 1, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.200

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/31/2012

Last Name

James

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Fordham University

State University of New York at Albany

Bronx Regional High School

Army Command and General Staff College

U.S. Army War College

U.S. Army Transportation School

U.S. Army Field Artillery School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Nathaniel

Birth City, State, Country

Branchville

HM ID

JAM05

Favorite Season

July

State

South Carolina

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/28/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Short Description

Major general Maj. Gen. Nathaniel James (1935 - ) the first African American obtain that rank of Major General in the New York Army National Guard, is the founder and president of both the 369th Historical Society and the 369th Veterans Association.

Employment

New York Army National Guard

369th Veterans' Association

New York City Transit Authority

New York Bell Telephone Company

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33856">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Nathaniel James' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33857">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33858">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33859">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James describes the hard life of working on the railroad</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33860">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James tells the story of his father's arrival in New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33861">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James describes his mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33862">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33863">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James discusses his father's aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33864">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Nathaniel James tells how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33865">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Nathaniel James describes his parents' personalities and talks about his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33866">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Nathaniel James describes his earliest childhood memories pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33867">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Nathaniel James describes his earliest childhood memories pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33868">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33869">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James describes his elementary school experience in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33870">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James describes his childhood in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33871">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James talks about his favorite subject and teachers in elementary school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33872">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James describes his elementary school's student health inspection</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33873">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James discusses his family's move from Brooklyn to the Bronx and an incident that happened to him in elementary school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33874">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James describes his experience attending a predominantly white school and compares it to his previous school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33875">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James describes his childhood hobbies and his interest in engineering</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33876">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Nathaniel James recalls his first job and his high school experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33877">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James talks about his childhood and youth</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33878">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James describes his enlistment in the New York Army National Guard's 369th Infantry Regiment pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33879">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James describes his enlistment in the New York Army National Guard's 369th Infantry Regiment pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33880">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James talks about race relations in the U. S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33881">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James describes his role as a Graves Registration Specialist in the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33882">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James discusses his military and civilian work</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33883">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James talks about meeting his wife and continuing his education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33884">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James discusses his computer science coursework at Fordham University in the Bronx</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33885">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James talks about his interest in becoming a General</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33886">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James describes the formation and advocacy efforts of the Black Officers Association pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33887">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James describes his rise to the rank of Major General</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33888">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James describes becoming commander of the 369th Infantry Regiment</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33889">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James talks about becoming the first African American commander of the 42nd Division Artillery</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33890">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James details his various promotions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33891">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James describes the formation and advocacy efforts of the Black Officers Association pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33892">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James describes his duties as a Two-Star General</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33893">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Nathaniel James talks about having to fire an ineffective Battalion Commander pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33894">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Nathaniel James talks about having to fire an ineffective Battalion Commander pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33895">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James discusses people's reactions to him being an African American Two-Star General in the New York Army National Guard</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33896">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James talks about his career as a Two-Star General in the New York Army National Guard</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33897">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James talks about an officer in the 369th Infantry Regiment who refused to fight in the Iraqi War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33898">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James discusses the creation of the 369th Infantry Regiment Historical Society pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33899">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James discusses the creation of the 369th Infantry Regiment Historical Society pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33900">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James talks about the erection of the monument in France honoring the 369th Infantry Regiment's efforts during World War I</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33901">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James talks about the creation of a duplicate monument in honor of the 369th Infantry Regiment in New York City pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33902">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James talks about the creation of a duplicate monument in honor of the 369th Infantry Regiment in New York City pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33903">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James describes the move of the second 369th Infantry Regiment monument from Germany to the United States pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33904">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James discusses development and programs at the 369th Infantry Regiment Historical Society, as well as the infantry's monument dedication</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33905">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33906">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James reminisces about his late friend, William Miles and the 369th Regiment's portrayal in movies</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33907">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33908">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James talks about his family and how he would like to be remembered</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Nathaniel James describes his childhood in New York City
Nathaniel James discusses the creation of the 369th Infantry Regiment Historical Society pt.2
Transcript
Okay. Now, what was your--were your schools--. Now, you're in Harlem, right, in a--?$$I was in Harlem.$$This is Harlem. So most of your classmates were black, I guess.$$Well, then it was--it wasn't all black then. It's just, like, the middle the Harlem where, I guess was black, but naturally, as a kid, I didn't go from level to level. I could only be right there in the street. We lived on Edgecombe Avenue. And then from Edgecombe Avenue we moved to Brooklyn to Gates Avenue. And I can remember Gates Avenue and it was a--Gates and Tompkins. That's when the war was going on, and that's where I saw like they delivered fish. Well, they didn't have a lot of ice trucks then, so what they did is, they delivered fish fresh. So the fish truck would come like a tanker truck, and they would scoop down with a big net, and take the fish out, and take them into the fish market. So you know you're getting fresh fish, they swimming right there in the tank. I guess that was amazing to me to watch them dip down and get all these fish out and put them in a basket and take them into the fish market. And I could sit in the window and watch the trucks come and deliver the bread and whatnot. And occasionally, my oldest sisters and brothers would take us downstairs to play in front of the stoop. And they had a movie, the Tompkins was on the corner. And I could down that far and could look at, you know, they put the pictures of what's playing on the inside. They'd put little scenes on the still pictures outside, and that's as far as I got. If I got ice cream, I think, ice cream, they told me, was three cents. So, I could get a cone of ice cream, which I very rarely got for three cents.$$It's unbelievable--$$Yeah.$$--now to think that you could get that for three cents.$$I guess a dollar now is like three cents then (laughs).$Now, what year was this when you formed it?$$This is in 1960, I guess.$$Okay.$$Let's revise that. 1959; about 1960.$$Okay.$$'Cause he says--we worked on that for--'til 1961, I can remember that, and we had our first viewers to come through. We had a little tour to come through and look at all the memorabilia. And we went through what the thing was about, and who these officers were, and all the different things that was in there. And it sort of caught on. People wanted to know more about it. So we're still confined to this little room. So, but they won't give us anymore space in the Amory. So we'll have to do the best that we can. So, we worked on fixing the room up, and taking all the phernalia (sic) and stuff out and putting the into categories, and try to organize it to something that we'll know where it's at when we need it. So, little by little, Bill Miles now decides that he's got enough of this stuff that he can make a film out of it. So he comes to me and he asks me to write a letter on behalf of the battalion, that he could go to the National Archives and get the footage of the 369th [Infantry Regiment]. Now, if you saw the "Men of Bronze," that footage in there is the footage that he got from the National Archives. So we wrote--now, normally if you go to the National Archives, you have to pay for the footage. But, if you go there as one of the historical units, you get it free, 'cause it's you. So, anyway, he was allowed to get all of this footage free. So, he was able to do that, and he got the film, and then he decided to do interviews and whatnot. And he did a lot of interviews, you know, like the little redheaded gentleman that was here, I met him. Now, he's in the film, and he was an actual 369er. Actually, I met a number of real 369er's that was in the World War I, but since them they have all passed away, so, you can't talk to any of them at this point. But that was the beginning. And then, as time went on, we wanted to expand. But we never got permission to expand it. So little by little, as I rose in rank, eventually, I got to be the Commander. When I got to be the Commander, then I had control over everything. So, I said, "Well, we can expand this out." And I told him to put things out I the lounges. So what we do is expand it into the lounge, and we collect this stuff up and put it back in the library. So it was an on and on, put up displays and take them down. So, as time went on, I spoke to this guy, William DeFossett. He was the president of the Veterans' Association there. He was a treasury officer. And knowing him and what he could do opened a lot of doors just by him being the treasurer officer. So, we used to help him, have him help us do a lot of things. So he says to me one day, "You know, you got committee on the end of this thing, 369th Historical Committee. That sounds awful small." He said, "Why don't you make it the 369th Historical Society, and then it's a bigger thing." I said, "That makes sense." So I changed it to 369th Historical Society. And then we decided to get a charter. So, we worked that, getting a charter. We got the charter, and then from the charter we had to go and get the 501(c)(3) status. We worked at getting the 501(c)(3) status. We got that. And that's the beginning of the 369th Historical Society. And--$$Now, what--yeah. I'm sorry. What year is this?$$And then, as time went on, I got to be the Army Commander. And then after I was the Army Commander, I came back here. They needed the space in the second floor library for a classroom. So I convinced them to give all the space on the walls in this lower area and upstairs to the exclusive use of the Society that no Commander can say what would go up there. That the Society would say what goes up and what takes down (sic). And I went through the Adjutant Generals' office and they gave approval. And so, we expanded everything outside to the different corridors. And that's the way it is today. And that's how the Society is now. The Society itself collects anybody that is interested in preserving history. And so, we have a lot of people that are not military. Anybody that wants to join can join for a fee of $25 as a yearly fee. If they want to be a life member, it's $300. So we got a lot of people to join in for life members, and a lot of people that do annual membership. So, the annual membership is the blood that keeps money coming in that you can do your administrative stuff. But it's nothing big. We try to get a couple of grants here and there. We've managed to get a few grants from the government through our representatives and whatnot. But it--as the budget dries up, that dries up also. So, we've been able to keep those things going. Then when we got to the point that we wanted to expand into the streets, we decided that we should be a monument up in France where the 369th fought, because we had the opportunity to go there, and there weren't no monuments to the 369th [Infantry Regiment], even in the town of Sechault.$$How do you spell that?$$Sechault? S-H-E-A-C-H-T-L (sic), I think it is, A-L-T, chalt.$$Okay. Okay.$$

Chalmers Archer, Jr.

Combat medical technician, author and education administrator Chalmers Archer, Jr. was born on April 21, 1928 in Tchula, Mississippi to Eva R. Archer, a teacher and Chalmers Archer, Sr., a farmer. As a child, his father and uncles rented a hilltop of more than four hundred acres known as the “Place”, where they farmed, cultivated orchards, raised livestock and built smokehouses. The land was sold when Archer was twelve years old and his family moved to Lexington, Mississippi. After graduating from Ambrose High School, he attended Tuskegee University for one year before volunteering for the United States Army Air Corps.

Archer was in the United States Army Air Corps for one year and then transferred to the Army. He served on a medical crew as a master sergeant technician during the Korean War, where his unit’s job was to retrieve wounded soldiers. In 1952, Archer began training at Fort Bragg’s Psychological Warfare Center as part of the newly formed United States Army’s Special Forces. His unit was one of the first to enter Vietnam where he trained original Special Forces teams of the South Vietnamese army. On October 21, 1957, Archer’s unit was ambushed and he witnessed the first American combat deaths in Vietnam, as well saving the lives of American and Vietnamese soldiers. He did not see action in Vietnam again, however, he did see action in Cambodia and Laos. Archer went on to serve in the Philippines, Hawaii, Korea, Taiwan, and Panama, as well as in Southeast Asia. He ended his army service in 1967 and went back to school, receiving his B.S. degree from the Tuskegee Institute in 1972. Archer earned his M.Ed. degree in 1974 and his Ph.D. degree in counseling and psychology from Auburn University in 1979. He then completed a twelve month, post-graduate study at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. In 1983, Archer became a professor of counseling and psychology at Northern Virginia Community College. He later served as assistant to the president at Saints Junior College in Lexington, Mississippi and assistant to the vice president at the Tuskegee Institute.

Archer wrote two memoirs, Growing up Black in Rural Mississippi published in 1991 and Green Berets in the Vanguard published in 2001. He received the Afro-Achievement Award in 1994 for distinguished lifetime achievement in education from the Dale City Afro-Achievement Committee. Archer also served as president of the Jennie Dean Project.

Archer passed away on February 24, 2014, at the age of 85.

Accession Number

A2012.147

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/12/2012

Last Name

Archer

Marital Status

Single

Organizations
Schools

Tuskegee University

Auburn University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Chalmers

Birth City, State, Country

Tchula

HM ID

ARC11

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

Let's get with it.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

4/21/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fish (Fried), Vegetables

Death Date

2/24/2014

Short Description

Soldier and psychology professor Chalmers Archer, Jr. (1928 - 2014 ) joined the newly formed United States Army’s Special Forces in 1952 and was one of the first units to enter Vietnam in 1957. He was the author of two memoirs, 'Growing up Black in Rural Mississippi' and 'Green Berets in the Vanguard'.

Employment

Northern Virginia Community College

United States Army Special Forces

Tuskegee University

Saints Junior College

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:3836,160:24020,468:48975,731:120382,1375:126584,1416:160359,1789:180996,1968:200683,2312:215880,2467$0,0:650,5:3690,50:5290,87:5850,95:7210,134:13299,198:14082,208:69050,734:69390,739:96131,998:96665,1005:208628,2057:232634,2311:233278,2318:267764,2610:283260,2748
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36137">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Chalmers Archer's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36138">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36139">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer describes his mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36140">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer describes his mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36141">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer talks about his mother's education and employment, as well as where he grew up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36142">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer discusses the book he wrote and how he was not permitted to have a book signing in Tchula, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36143">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36144">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Chalmers Archer recalls a story about his paternal grandfather from slavery that is in the book he wrote</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36145">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer remembers the stories his father told him about growing up, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36146">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer remembers the stories his father told him about growing up, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36147">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about how his family came to live at "The Place"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36148">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer talks about his grandparents and his father hearing Booker T. Washington speak</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36149">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer discusses his father's service in the military, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36150">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer discusses his father's service in the military, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36151">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about his siblings and how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36152">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer talks about his brother, his father's restaurant and his mother's cooking</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36153">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer describes his parents' personalities and college plans</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36154">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Mississippi, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36155">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer talks about his uncles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36156">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Mississippi, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36157">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer talks about the barn fire at his family home in Lexington, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36158">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer discusses the differences between growing up white and growing up black in Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36159">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Chalmers Archer talks about blacks' rights in Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36160">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Chalmers Archer talks about the schools he attended as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36161">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer talks about his elementary school experience</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36162">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer talks about leaving "The Place"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36163">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about his father's involvement with the U.S. Federal Housing Administration program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36164">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer discusses his high school experience, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36165">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer discusses his high school experience, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36166">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer talks about a gunfight he was involved in Lexington, Mississippi, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36167">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about a gunfight he was involved in Lexington, Mississippi, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36168">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer talks about the summer he spent in Detroit, Michigan after being involved in a gunfight</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36169">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer talks about attending Tuskegee University, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36170">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about attending Tuskegee University, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36171">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer talks about leaving college to join the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36172">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer talks about the Tuskegee Airmen and the prejudicial evacuation of blacks from the Philippines</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36173">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer talks about his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36174">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about becoming an army medic and his combat experience in World War II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36175">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Chalmers Archer recalls the integration of the U.S. Armed Forces and the Korean War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36176">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer discusses his experience with integration in the military after President Harry Truman's desegregation order</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36177">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer talks about being a member of the U.S. Special Forces, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36178">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about being a member of the U.S. Special Forces, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36179">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer discusses his first mission with the U.S. Special Forces</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36180">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer talks about his missions in Southeast Asia and Japan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36181">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer talks about his service during the Vietnam War, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36182">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about his service during the Vietnam War, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36183">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer talks about his involvement with the civil rights protests in Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36184">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer talks about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the students killed at Jackson State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36185">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about his experience at Tuskegee Institute, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36186">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer talks about his experience at Tuskegee Institute, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36187">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer talks about his experience at Auburn University and the University of Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36188">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer talks about his book, "Growing Up Black in Mississippi"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36189">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about working for Northern Virginia Community College and publishing his second book</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36190">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Chalmers Archer talks about his second book, "Green Beret's in the Vanguard"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36191">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer talks about school desegregation efforts in the U.S. with the King of Thailand</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36192">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer talks about his first book, teaching career and interest in farming</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36193">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about his legacy and his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36194">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer talks about his parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36195">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer talks about his relationships with his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36196">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer speaks about social changes for blacks in Mississippi and in the military</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36197">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36198">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Slating of Chalmers Archer's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/36199">Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Chalmers Archer describes his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$7

DAStory

1$8

DATitle
Chalmers Archer talks about the summer he spent in Detroit, Michigan after being involved in a gunfight
Chalmers Archer talks about his second book, "Green Beret's in the Vanguard"
Transcript
So let me ask you about Detroit [Michigan]. Now--$$Oh okay.$$--you said this is your first time in a major city right?$$Yeah, it was the first time in a major city.$$So what did you do all summer in Detroit?$$Oh, I think I went to Canada but I'm not certain so if anybody ask me if I ever been to Canada, I say I'm not certain because I don't know whether I went--it's right across the river you know. But I went to Bell Island, that's the first one of those things that I'd ever gone to. I really enjoyed that back and forth. And they made a big to-do over me. You know I was the littlest and all of their children were grown you know and so I had a wonderful time. It was only three months. But I got a job shining shoes. That's the only thing I could find fairly quickly you know and I did well. Whatever, of course whatever I tried to do, I did the best I could. And, but going to Bell Island and--oh, I also, I went from shining shoes to pressing clothes. They taught me, I was the only young boy there, young person there and they taught me how to press clothes and how to clean clothes. I thought I, said I just might want to be a, have, start a business you know some day. But that never materialized, but--$$Now who did you stay with, your--?$$Huh?$$Who did you stay with in Detroit?$$Oh, my cousins. They were my cousins but they were like my father's sisters. They were cousins so--in those days though people were close you know, sisters and brothers. Two steps backwards, it was twelve people in my father's family and two of them were adopted and adopted in those days mean they just took them in you know and made certain, and made no distinction between the one they took in and their natural born ones you know. One got drowned and they never did get over that the people in papa's family, immediate family. He talked about that. He's just like you, he didn't talk much. (Laughter). She claims I don't talk much.$$So did you get a chance to experience any of the entertainment in Detroit?$$Um-um.$$No? Okay.$$No, I don't think so. I don't remember. Oh, I had been to Chicago [Illinois], you know maybe I went to Chicago later and a lot of entertainment. I think that was later though.$$Yeah.$$It was.$$I think all your brothers and sisters moved to Chicago at one point, right? So well, so you spent a summer in Detroit and you came back to--and went to Tuskegee [University], right?$$Yeah, almost kept going.$$Okay.$$Almost.$Well just to summarize it. I mean it's about the Special Forces, the beginning of the Special Forces--$$Yeah.$$--being formed in the early 50s [1950s] and--$$Then we went to--$$--then their use in Southeast Asia prior to the Vietnam War, right?$$Yeah. And we went to Hawaii for a year. Why I do not know. Why the Pentagon sent us to Hawaii for a year to do nothing and no particular training. We did some parachute jumping and we went hunting boars. I think that's the way they pronounced it, boars--the hogs, wild hogs.$$Right.$$We went hunting them. I didn't want to kill any so I just took it easy while the other, the rest of us hunt for boars and gave it to the local people you know the ones you kill. And, which was a good idea I guess. And we left there and we went to Thailand. Thailand was one that the president thought that from what was it, the--you told me the other day, the game that the whole game went--$$Oh, domino.$$The dominoes, yeah.$$Domino theory, right.$$He was afraid that they would you know fall under that and that was Thailand and two or three more. Vietnam was one.$$Cambodia, Laos and--$$Cambodia and Laos and maybe some more.$$Burma yeah.$$But we went to Thailand and we put them through a complete Special Forces training that, same as we had but not quite as rough as ours was. So--I don't think. But unless it was just easier for me since I had gone through it not too long ago. Maybe that was it, I don't know. But we put them through jump school and we also put them through ranger school, a brief, lack of a better road--a better word, put them through there in less time than it took them in the infantry school, about half the time. But it was rough. And we got to know all of the dignitaries and most of those dignitaries, some of them got to be premier and all of them were top dignitaries that we dealt with. They felt it was important if [Dwight D. Eisenhower] you know sent us over there and Colonel Manning talked us up, you know said the president sent us and so on. And I got a chance to meet the King. The King sent for me and he wanted--$$This is the king of--?$$I've forgotten his name. It's in the book ["Green Beret's in the Vanguard"] though. It's in here. He sent for me because I was black and I think--but he was educated in the United States and he was interested to talk particularly about the music, Woody Herman and all of the black--Woody Herman of course wasn't black but all of the black--$$Musicians?$$Musicians, yeah.$$Okay.$$And he seemed to--if he was--what I couldn't understand was if he was educated in the United States and--but he seemed to have thought all black people played music. He seemed to, he asked me which instruments did I play you know?

Maj. Walter Sanderson, Jr.

U.S. Army Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. was born in Washington, D.C. on March 20, 1921 to Yale Manning Sanderson, a teacher, and Walter B. Sanderson, Sr., a chauffeur. His siblings include younger brother, John and younger sister, Vera. After graduating from Washington, D.C.’s Dunbar High School as an honors student and salutatorian in 1937, Sanderson enrolled at Howard University, where he was a member of the Army ROTC. He earned his B.S. degree at Howard in 1941 and was awarded medals from Howard University President, Mordecai Johnson at the ROTC Military Day drill competition. After graduating from Howard, Sanderson was hired by the United States Postal Service in mail distribution in 1941.

Sanderson joined the United States Army in 1942 and saw action in World War II as an infantry reservist with the 25th Infantry Regiment, 93rd Infantry Division, a segregated unit of the United States Army composed entirely of African American soldiers led by African American junior and white senior officers. In 1943, Sanderson’s unit began fighting in the Pacific Theater Campaign on Bougainville Island in the Solomon Islands Chain, near Guadalcanal Island, against Japanese forces. His unit performed combat patrols on other islands until combat on Morotai Island in 1945. In 1945, while serving on Morotai Island in Indonesia, Sanderson’s company was cited for bravery. Division patrols earned the distinction of capturing Col. Kisou Ouichi, the highest ranking Japanese prisoner of war in the Pacific. In 1944, Sanderson was promoted from 2nd to 1st Lieutenant in his unit, the 25th Infantry Regiment, 93rd Infantry Division. In 1952, Sanderson served with the 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division in the Korean War (1950 – 1953), suffering a shell fragment wound in combat.

Included in Sanderson’s many accolades are a Purple Heart for wounds received in combat in the Korean War and two Bronze Star Medals for meritorious service. Sanderson was also the recipient of a United Nations Service Medal and Master Combat Infantry Badge. In 1965, after his 23 years in the military, Sanderson was hired as a systems analyst doing defense analysis for the U.S. Government, which earned him a nomination for National Civil Service League’s Career Service Award in 1971. Sanderson was a longtime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization and the Second Infantry Division Association. Sanderson was married to late wife Juanita H. Sanderson. He has two adult children, Leslie Swift and Walter B. Sanderson III.

Walter B. Sanderson, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 9, 2012.

Sanderson passed away on February 5, 2017.

Accession Number

A2012.068

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/9/2012

Last Name

Sanderson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

B.

Occupation
Schools

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Walt

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

SAN05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Quote

Machts Nicht.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/20/1921

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Death Date

2/5/2017

Short Description

Major Maj. Walter Sanderson, Jr. (1921 - 2017 ) garnered a Purple Heart and two Bronze Star Medals for meritorious service in combat in World War II and the Korean War.

Employment

United States Government

United States Postal Service

United States Army

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32892">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Walter Sanderson Jr.'s interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32893">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Walter Sanderson Jr. lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32894">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his mother's family background and the story behind her name</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32895">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his maternal grandfather</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32896">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his mother and her college education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32897">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32898">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32899">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his parents' move to Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32900">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his earliest childhood memory and his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32901">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Walter Sanderson Jr. recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32902">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Walter Sanderson Jr. recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32903">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Walter Sanderson Jr. discusses his father's upbringing in Gees Bend, Alabama and his employment as a police officer in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32904">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his childhood and elementary school education in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32905">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his school and the person who his junior high school was named after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32906">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his favorite subject in junior high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32907">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his maternal grandfather's history and describes his high school experience</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32908">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his participation in the high school cadet corps</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32909">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his extracurricular activities in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32910">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about famous African Americans from his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32911">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his career goals following graduation from high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32912">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about the events in Europe during World War II, pt 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32913">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about the events in Europe during World War II, pt 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32914">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes the racism he encountered when applying for a job with the Weather Bureau</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32915">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Walter Sanderson Jr. recounts the military's attitude towards African American soldiers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32916">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about serving as 2nd Lieutenant of the 93rd Infantry Division's 25th Regiment</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32917">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Walter Sanderson Jr. discusses the history of the 25th Regiment and segregation in the military</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32918">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his tour of duty in the Pacific and his first combat experience</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32919">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes a gruesome incident he witnessed during his tour of duty in the Pacific</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32920">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Walter Sanderson Jr. discusses the Battle of Morotai, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32921">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Walter Sanderson Jr. discusses the Battle of Morotai pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32922">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his promotion to the rank of Captain as well as the capture of Japanese officers by the 93rd Division</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32923">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Walter Sanderson Jr. provides a basis for his opinion</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32924">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his return to the United States and daughter, Leslie Gale Sanderson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32925">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. talks about his re-enlisting in the military and his employment with the U.S. Postal Service</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32926">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. describes being re-called into active duty in 1951</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32927">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. talks about his role as an instructor in the military</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32928">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. talks about his participation in the Korean War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32929">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. comments on the torture of Chinese prisoners by the United States military</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32930">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. recalls his interactions with white subordinates</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32931">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. talks about the white officer that saved his life on the battlefield</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32932">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Walter Sanderson Jr. comments on the inhumanity of war</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32933">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Walter Sanderson Jr. comments on race relations between black and white soldiers during the Korean War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32934">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his career with the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32935">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Walter Sanderson Jr. discusses changes in the character of frontline warfare</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32936">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Walter Sanderson Jr. discusses his retirement in 1977 and reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32937">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Walter Sanderson Jr. explains his philosophy on life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32938">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32939">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Walter Sanderson Jr. explains the significance of President Barack Obama's election</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32940">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his parents and how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/32941">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his photographs</a>

DASession

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DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
Walter Sanderson Jr. describes the racism he encountered when applying for a job with the Weather Bureau
Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his tour of duty in the Pacific and his first combat experience
Transcript
Now, I have here that you were working at the post office?$$Yeah, I applied for a job at the post office because they were then, the post office was then off rank. Uh, it what was we call war time indefinite appointments, something like that, which after a period they decided to make me permanent. And I should add, that at the same time I was hoping to express my disdain for the German approach to life. I was not at all satisfied with the treatment of this country, and I can give you one example. The Weather Bureau, the Interior Department, was advertising for people to hire as to interpret and go over old ship records made over the years about weather on the English Channel. I found out later that the purpose was to analyze those records in order to select the proper time and place for a cross channel invasion which became what we know now as D-Day. What is interesting in this discussion, however, is that about 150 or so people appeared to take the quality test and examination for these jobs, and about eight or nine of us were asked, the top scorers, to appear for, to be interviewed personally. When I appeared, the only non-white person in that group, immediately the chap who was conducting the interview called me aside and told me that I was too late, he had already hired a janitor. That impressed me as a good example of the relative priorities of patriotism and racism.$$Yes, sir.$$And when I told him that I was there because I had been asked to report as one of the highest scorers on his examination, he said, "Oh, that just wouldn't work, because we can't have anyone of your color working here."$$So, this is--$$And that was the end of my attempt to become an employee of the Weather Bureau. I had boned up for about oh, a couple of months on all the terminology and skills required to satisfy their requirements, which is why I was able to score so high on that examination, but it was obvious that priorities on their part were in a different area.$Okay. So, how long did you stay there in the desert?$$Uh, just a few months before they found a job for the unit to perform in the Pacific. Specifically, we were shipped to, first to the Guadacanal Island, which then had been pacified by the Marines, oh, five six months before then. And while at the Guadacanal, my company was ordered to move to Bougainville Island about 400 miles away. My company commander ordered me to be flown to Bougainville to, or shipped, I'm not sure which it was, as the advance man to plan for the arrival of the rest of the company and to coordinate their arrival with the American troops and the Australian Fiji Island troops who were already there. And I did that, and after about a couple of weeks or so, the company arrived, Company G, George--the George Company it was called--of the 25th Infantry Regiment under Captain Conway Jones. And it was while there only a few days after our arrival that I had my first combat live fire experience, which was written up in very florid language by the 'Pittsburgh Courier', I think, and the other black newspapers.$$Now, what happened, what happened?$$Uh, the Japanese assaulted us, coming quite close, because of a thick jungle and so forth. And I believe they were, they under-estimated our spirit and ability to resist, because they had been, it had been reported to them that quote "native troops had arrived." The Australians had a unit of Fiji Island troops there and relatively Pacific, with no great attempts to patrol and so forth into the jungle. And it was assumed, I think, by the Japanese that we were of the same ilk, because of our color.$$Fiji Islanders have, they have like very kinky hair, they are dark skinned--$$Precisely, right. And as a matter of fact, we were positive that that was what the report was, because the Fiji's had captured a Japanese non-commissioned officer who had written his report describing us that way. So, they assaulted, the Japanese assaulted us, and then in a four or five day period, attempted of course, to wipe us out. The report of the '[Pittsburgh] Courier' says that, I think, somewhere in excess of 40 of them were killed, and we had oh, eight or nine of our troops, of our own wounded. There are a couple of things there, instances there, that should be reported. Specifically, my, I was their first platoon leader. My platoon sergeant, Barry Bullock, got something, either a grenade fragment or a bullet through his hand, and he was weeping. I was quite close to him at the time and I asked why he was weeping. He said that it was not for the pain, although it was severe, but because he had been a brick mason in life, in civilian life, and he had a wife and child and he would not be able to support them when he got back.$$Okay.$$That was the last time I saw him.