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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

Birth Date

11/14/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

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
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Tyrone Dancy's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Tyrone Dancy lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Tyrone Dancy describes his mother's family background pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Tyrone Dancy describes his mother's family background pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Tyrone Dancy describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Tyrone Dancy talks about his father's career in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Tyrone Dancy describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Tyrone Dancy discusses his relationship with his father, which parent he takes after, and his four siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Tyrone Dancy describes his relationship with his siblings and his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Tyrone Dancy lists his siblings' birth dates

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Tyrone Dancy describes his growing up in Pennsylvania pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Tyrone Dancy describes his growing up in Pennsylvania pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Tyrone Dancy remembers the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Tyrone Dancy talks about his experience in elementary and junior high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Tyrone Dancy talks about working in a grocery store and his junior high school shop class

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Tyrone Dancy recalls being a sharp dresser and an average student in junior high school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Tyrone Dancy describes his experience in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Tyrone Dancy describes his high school experiences and his part-time job working at a shoe store

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Tyrone Dancy describes the church of his youth and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Tyrone Dancy talks about vocational school and being drafted into the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Tyrone Dancy describes his basic training at Fort Bragg and his advanced training at Fort McClellan

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Tyrone Dancy talks about his military duty in Vietnam in 1969

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Tyrone Dancy talks about his assignment to the 199th Infantry Brigade and training in Vietnam

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Tyrone Dancy describes his first mission in My Lai, Vietnam

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Tyrone Dancy describes his experience in combat during the Vietnam War and being injured by a rocket attack

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Tyrone Dancy describes his injuries from the rocket attack pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Tyrone Dancy describes his injuries from the rocket attack pt.2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Tyrone Dancy discusses his transfer from the battlefield to the hospital

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Tyrone Dancy describes recovering from injuries from the Vietnam battlefield pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Tyrone Dancy describes recovering from injuries from the Vietnam battlefield pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Tyrone Dancy discusses his assignment to clerical duty following injuries he sustained in Vietnam

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Tyrone Dancy talks about being medically discharged from the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Tyrone Dancy discusses the medals he received for his service in the Vietnam War

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Tyrone Dancy talks about friends who died in Vietnam and transitioning into civilian life

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

Birth Date

2/7/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

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
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Larry Jordan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Larry Jordan lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Larry Jordan describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Larry Jordan describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Larry Jordan talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Larry Jordan talks about his paternal grandparents, and his father's service in World War II

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

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Larry Jordan talks about his father's pride in his unit during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Larry Jordan talks about how his parents met and married

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

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Larry Jordan describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Larry Jordan describes the neighborhood where he grew up in Kansas City, Missouri

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

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Larry Jordan describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, in the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Larry Jordan talks about elementary school, his childhood interest in science, space and reading, and his favorite dog, Lady

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Larry Jordan talks about attending an integrated high school system in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Larry Jordan talks about the changing demographics of his neighborhood in Kansas City after integration

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Larry Jordan talks about integration in Kansas City, and his newly integrated elementary and high schools

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Larry Jordan talks about his high school teacher, Mrs. Thumland

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Larry Jordan talks about his childhood jobs

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Larry Jordan talks about his family's involvement in the Baptist Church

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Larry Jordan talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Larry Jordan talks about his observation as a child of differing racial dynamics in different cities

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Larry Jordan talks about his interests as a young boy growing up in Kansas City

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Larry Jordan talks about his academic performance and his interest in sports in school

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Larry Jordan talks about his interest in the ROTC program in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Larry Jordan talks about attending the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Larry Jordan talks about his high school graduating class

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Larry Jordan describes his experience at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Larry Jordan talks about his long term associations with classmates from the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Larry Jordan describes a typical day at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Larry Jordan talks about the academic curriculum at West Point, and the teaching of African American history

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Larry Jordan talks about the training that he received at West Point

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Larry Jordan talks about mentorship and friendship at the United States Military Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Larry Jordan talks about the academic and athletic rigors of the United States Military Academy and his performance there

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Larry Jordan reflects upon the Civil Rights Movement and being an African American student at the United States Military Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Larry Jordan reflects upon the civil unrest and riots in the U.S. in the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Larry Jordan talks about the Vietnam War

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Larry Jordan talks about the Vietnam War and graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point

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

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Larry Jordan describes how he met and married his wife, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Larry Jordan describes how he met and married his wife, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Larry Jordan describes his experience in Vietnam in 1969

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

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

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Larry Jordan talks about the indigenous people of Vietnam and their views of American soldiers during the Vietnam War

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Larry Jordan talks about the diversity and close-knit nature of his unit in Vietnam

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Larry Jordan reflects upon the draft and racial problems within the U.S. armed forces in the 1960s and 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Larry Jordan describes his experience at Indiana University

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Larry Jordan talks about his master's thesis about the black experience at West Point

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Larry Jordan talks about the history of African Americans at West Point and in the U.S. Army

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Larry Jordan talks about graduating from Indiana University and teaching history for three years at West Point

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Larry Jordan talks about attending the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Larry Jordan describes his family's experience in Germany from 1979 to 1982

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

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Larry Jordan talks about the commemorative monument to the 761st Tank Battalion, at Fort Knox, Kentucky

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Larry Jordan talks about his experience at the National War College

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

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Larry Jordan talks about Operation Desert Storm, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Larry Jordan talks about Operation Desert Storm, pt. 2

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

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Larry Jordan talks about Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Larry Jordan talks about presenting the Army Task Force Report on Extremist Activity, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Larry Jordan talks about presenting the Army Task Force Report on Extremist Activity, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Larry Jordan talks about serving as the Inspector General of the U.S. Army

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Larry Jordan describes his experience as Inspector General of the U.S. Army

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Larry Jordan shares his views on the U.S. Army's approval of women for combat duty

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

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Larry Jordan talks about the changes to TRADOC after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Larry Jordan talks about his retirement from the U.S. Army in 2003 and his activities after retirement

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Larry Jordan talks about his sons' careers

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Larry Jordan reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Larry Jordan reflects upon his life and career

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Larry Jordan describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Larry Jordan describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Larry Jordan describes his photographs

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

Birth Date

11/24/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

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
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Michele Jones' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Michele Jones lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Michele Jones describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Michele Jones describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Michele Jones describes her mother's education and career in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Michele Jones describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Michele Jones describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about her father in high school in Baltimore, Maryland and his drama club

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Michele Jones describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Michele Jones describes her close-knit family

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Michele Jones describes how her parents met and married

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Michele Jones describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Michele Jones describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Michele Jones talks about her exposure to religion as a child and her freedom to choose her faith

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Michele Jones describes her experience in elementary school, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Michele Jones describes her experience in elementary school, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Michele Jones describes her extracurricular activities as a child and her family's interest in music

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Michele Jones talks about her father serving for six years in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Michele Jones describes her experience in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Michele Jones talks about playing softball and cheerleading in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Michele Jones talks about her teachers in high school

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

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Michele Jones talks about her grades in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Michele Jones talks about her decision to join the U.S. Army

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

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about her experience at basic training

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Michele Jones talks about her experience at advanced training in the U.S. Army, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Michele Jones talks about her experience at advanced training in the U.S. Army, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Michele Jones talks about her first assignment to Fort Carson, Colorado

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

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

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Michele Jones describes her first assignment in Fort Carson, Colorado, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Michele Jones describes her first assignment in Fort Carson, Colorado, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Michele Jones describes her experience when stationed in Hanau, Germany in 1984

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Michele Jones describes her experience in Honduras and Panama and her decision to go to Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about attending Fayetteville State University while stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Michele Jones talks about being mobilized during the Gulf War

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Michele Jones talks about studying business administration at Fayetteville State University's Fort Bragg campus and her instructors there

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Michele Jones explains the role of a sergeant major and command sergeant major in the U.S. Army, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Michele Jones explains the role of a sergeant major and command sergeant major in the U.S. Army, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Michele Jones talks about the training received at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Michele Jones describes her experience at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Michele Jones talks about her class' involvement in the community while at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy

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

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

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

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Michele Jones describes her role as the command sergeant major for the U.S. Army Reserve

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

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Michele Jones talks about educating the media about the U.S. Army Reserve

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Michele Jones talks about the challenges faced by the U.S. Army Reserve in the global war on terror

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

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Michele Jones talks about retiring from the U.S. Army in 2007 and founding The Bones Theory Group, LLC

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Michele Jones talks about The Bones Theory Group's focus on tutoring businesses on recruiting and retaining veterans

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Michele Jones talks about being invited to speak at the 2008 Democratic National Convention

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Michele Jones talks about speaking at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Michele Jones describes her service as special assistant to the Secretary of Defense and White House liaison

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

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Michele Jones shares her views on the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't tell" policy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Michele Jones discusses her appointment as the director of External Veterans/Military Affairs and Community Outreach

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Michele Jones discusses restarting her consulting practice

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Michele Jones describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Michele Jones reflects upon her career choices

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Michele Jones reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Michele Jones talks about her daughters

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Michele Jones talks about receiving her parents' unconditional love and support

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Michele Jones talks about her friend, Janet Miller

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Michele Jones talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Michele Jones describes her photographs

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

Middle Name

L'Engle

Occupation
Schools

New Stanton High School

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

Birth Date

8/9/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Petersburg

Country

United States

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

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Porcher Taylor's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about growing up in Georgia, and his mother's education and faith

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about his father's newspaper, 'The Florida Tattler', pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about his father's newspaper, 'The Florida Tattler', pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor talks about his paternal grandfather's entrepreneurship

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

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about segregation in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor discusses how his grandmother was deceived by her lawyer

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about his father's education at Tuskegee University in the George Washington Carver Class of 1922

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about his parents attending church

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about his sisters, Virginia Anita Williams and Betty Ruth Belton

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Porcher Taylor describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up during segregation in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Porcher Taylor talks about starting school in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience in school in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about his interest in sports while growing up, and his favorite subjects in school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor talks about his interest in reading, and black newspapers while he was growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about his father's printing business, and his father's death in 1964

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about his favorite teachers in grade school and being a member of the Boy Scouts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience in high school in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about his decision to join the U.S. Navy during World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor describes his decision to attend Tuskegee University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor describes his experience in the U.S. Navy in 1943 and 1944

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor talks about the segregated U.S. Navy during World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about being assigned to the South Pacific Theatre in World War II

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

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about his return to the U.S. from World War II

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

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

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor talks about his assignment as a guard for Japanese prisoners of war in World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about attending Tuskegee University on the GI Bill

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor talks about playing football at Tuskegee University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about meeting George Washington Carver at Tuskegee University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about meeting his first wife at Tuskegee University

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

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about segregation in the U.S. military

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor describes his experience in the U.S. Army at Fort Jackson, South Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Porcher Taylor describes his experience in the Korean War and in the 25th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Porcher Taylor talks about the desegregation of the U.S. Army and the importance of ROTC programs in colleges

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Porcher Taylor talks about his assignments at Schofield Barracks following his return from the Korean War in 1955

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Porcher Taylor talks about earning his master's degree in counselor education at Virginia State University

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Porcher Taylor talks about his career in education

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

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about his mentor at Fort Jackson, and describes his decision to attend the University of South Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience at the University of South Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience at Uiojongbu, Korea, and becoming a member of Lions Club International

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

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about his service in the Organizational Effective Training Unit of the U.S. Army

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about his service in the Vietnam War

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor talks about his service in the Organizational Effective Training Unit of the U.S. Army

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Porcher Taylor talks about his life after retirement and his awards and honors

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Porcher Taylor reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor reflects upon his life and career

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor shares how he would like to be remembered

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

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor describes his photographs

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 [08/27/2012]

Accession Number

A2012.227

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/27/2012 |and| 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

Birth Date

6/29/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

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
0,0:4469,37:14262,117:33344,345:47436,485:55648,548:65970,657:73214,781:73670,786:137900,1388:162240,1666$0,0:16216,287:17793,302:18457,313:25038,411:27180,421:30440,454:33730,477:53885,725:54395,732:56690,768:57115,774:63310,806:65700,843:78476,967:81241,1014:84643,1095:91300,1157:91666,1164:104283,1346:107860,1378:108740,1410:112632,1450:126652,1615:131040,1645:131700,1653:135167,1760:147746,1882:151486,1981:156440,2053
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Julius Becton's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Julius Becton lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Julius Becton describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Julius Becton talks about his mother, Rose Inez Banks

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Julius Becton describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Julius Becton talks about his father, and his strong work ethic

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Julius Becton talks about his family's involvement in the church

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Julius Becton talks about his brother, and how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Julius Becton describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Julius Becton describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Julius Becton talks about growing up in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Julius Becton talks about his father's job in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Julius Becton talks about his father being his role model

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Julius Becton talks about growing up with undertones of racial segregation in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Julius Becton describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Julius Becton talks about his family's visits to North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Julius Becton describes his experience in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Julius Becton talks about his brother, Joseph William Becton

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Julius Becton talks about studying mathematics in college

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Julius Becton talks about his teachers in elementary school, and his progress to high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Julius Becton talks about his childhood jobs, and his father's income

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Julius Becton talks about his involvement with Saints Memorial Baptist Church since his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Julius Becton talks about his involvement in sports while growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Julius Becton talks about how he met his wife

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

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Julius Becton talks about his father's political affiliation and his decision to enroll at Muhlenberg College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Julius Becton talks about joining the Civil Air Patrol in 1941 and the Army Air Corp Enlisted Reserve in 1943

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Julius Becton talks about others who graduated from his high school, and his desire to join the Army Air Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Julius Becton talks about attending Officer Candidate School in 1944

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

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Julius Becton talks about his experience in the U.S. Army while stationed in the Philippines

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

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Julius Becton talks about playing football at Muhlenberg College, as a center on offense and a linebacker on defense

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Julius Becton talks about getting married in 1948

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Julius Becton talks about returning to the U.S. Army in 1948, and his parents' support of him financially

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Julius Becton describes his experience in the Korean War

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

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

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Julius Becton talks about his return to the U.S. from the Korean War in 1951

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Julius Becton talks about his assignments after returning from the Korean War in 1951

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

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Julius Becton describes his experience on tour in Germany

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)

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Julius Becton describes his experience at Prairie View A&M University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Julius Becton describes his experience at Command General Staff College (CGSC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Julius Becton describes his assignment in France

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

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Julius Becton talks about earning his master's degree in economics

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Julius Becton describes how he was assigned to join the U.S. Army in Vietnam

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Julius Becton describes his experience in the U.S. Army in Vietnam

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Julius Becton reflects upon the Vietnam War

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Julius Becton discusses race relations in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Julius Becton discusses his thirteen-point management philosophy in terms of commanding troops

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Julius Becton talks about his service in the Vietnam War and the get-togethers of his command staff

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Julius Becton describes how General Colin Powell was selected to attend the National War College in 1975

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Julius Becton talks about his training at the National War College

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

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Julius Becton discusses trends in the number of women and their roles in the military between the 1970s and 2012

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

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Julius Becton describes his experience as deputy commander at Fort Dix, New Jersey

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Julius Becton describes his experience as a division commander at Fort Hood, Texas, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Julius Becton describes his experience as a division commander at Fort Hood, Texas, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Julius Becton talks about mentoring in the U.S. Army

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Julius Becton talks about his service as the commander of the Operational Test and Evaluation Agency (OTEA)

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Julius Becton talks about being recognized as one of the '100 Most Influential Blacks' by Ebony Magazine

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Julius Becton describes his experience as the commander of the U.S. VII Corps stationed in Cold War Europe

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Julius Becton talks about his appointments as Deputy Commander of Training for TRADOC and as the Army Inspector of Training

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

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Julius Becton talks about becoming the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Julius Becton talks about his former colleague, educator Arlene Ackerman

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Julius Becton reflects upon the crisis in urban education in the U.S.

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Julius Becton describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Julius Becton discusses the crisis in today's community regarding physical and behavioral health

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Julius Becton discusses the prospects for young people who are interested in joining the military

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Julius Becton reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Julius Becton talks about his family

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Julius Becton talks about receiving the George Catlett Marshall Medal in 2007

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Julius Becton talks about the gathering of African American Flag Officers and being honored by the Buffalo Soldiers

Tape: 10 Story: 10 - Julius Becton talks about his autobiography, 'Becton: Autobiography of a Soldier and Public Servant'

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Slating of Julius Becton's interview, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Julius Becton's describes the ceremony honoring his retirement from the U.S. Army in 1983

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

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Julius Becton reflects upon the U.S. Military's repeal of the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Julius Becton describes his service as the director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance in the USAID

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Julius Becton describes his experience as the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Julius Becton talks about the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) since his service there, and discusses the role of FEMA

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Julius Becton talks about Lieutenant General Russel Honore's service towards disaster relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Julius Becton describes his experience as the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Julius Becton talks about becoming the president of Prairie View A&M University in 1989

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Julius Becton describes his selection as the president of Prairie View A and M University

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Julius Becton describes his experience as the president of Prairie View A and M University

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Julius Becton discusses the reputation of Prairie View A and M University

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Julius Becton describes how he became the superintendent of the Washington, District of Columbia public school system in 1996

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Julius Becton discusses the challenges faced by the Washington, District of Columbia public school system

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Julius Becton describes his experience as the superintendent of the Washington, District of Columbia public school system, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Julius Becton describes his experience as the superintendent of the Washington, District of Columbia public school system, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Julius Becton talks about the challenges that are faced by the public school system in Washington, District of Columbia

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Julius Becton describes his life after retiring as the superintendent of the public school system in Washington, District of Columbia

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Julius Becton talks about his relative, HistoryMaker Thelma Groomes

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Julius Becton reflects upon his life and career, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Julius Becton reflects upon his life and career, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Julius Becton talks about his parents

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Julius Becton talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Julius Becton describes his photographs

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

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

7/28/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

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
0,0:693,12:2310,37:3157,54:14160,205:15840,223:19767,320:41296,578:45062,631:46455,656:50343,728:63880,975:64370,984:91820,1380:95002,1506:95890,1521:103046,1661:110438,1753:122770,1850$0,0:800,19:2100,45:31417,374:68110,920:68920,931:69730,1003:74410,1217:99468,1526:110722,1682:120395,1802:127450,1927:213446,2906:214166,2974:223528,3125:300934,4092:305470,4167:324070,4477:329550,4628:342280,4791:357290,5183
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Nathaniel James' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James describes the hard life of working on the railroad

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James tells the story of his father's arrival in New York

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James discusses his father's aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Nathaniel James tells how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Nathaniel James describes his parents' personalities and talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Nathaniel James describes his earliest childhood memories pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Nathaniel James describes his earliest childhood memories pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James describes his elementary school experience in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James describes his childhood in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James talks about his favorite subject and teachers in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James describes his elementary school's student health inspection

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

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James describes his experience attending a predominantly white school and compares it to his previous school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James describes his childhood hobbies and his interest in engineering

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Nathaniel James recalls his first job and his high school experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James talks about his childhood and youth

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James describes his enlistment in the New York Army National Guard's 369th Infantry Regiment pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James describes his enlistment in the New York Army National Guard's 369th Infantry Regiment pt.2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James talks about race relations in the U. S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James describes his role as a Graves Registration Specialist in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James discusses his military and civilian work

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James talks about meeting his wife and continuing his education

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James discusses his computer science coursework at Fordham University in the Bronx

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James talks about his interest in becoming a General

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James describes the formation and advocacy efforts of the Black Officers Association pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James describes his rise to the rank of Major General

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James describes becoming commander of the 369th Infantry Regiment

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James talks about becoming the first African American commander of the 42nd Division Artillery

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James details his various promotions

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James describes the formation and advocacy efforts of the Black Officers Association pt.2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James describes his duties as a Two-Star General

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Nathaniel James talks about having to fire an ineffective Battalion Commander pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Nathaniel James talks about having to fire an ineffective Battalion Commander pt.2

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

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James talks about his career as a Two-Star General in the New York Army National Guard

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James talks about an officer in the 369th Infantry Regiment who refused to fight in the Iraqi War

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James discusses the creation of the 369th Infantry Regiment Historical Society pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James discusses the creation of the 369th Infantry Regiment Historical Society pt.2

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

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

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

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James describes the move of the second 369th Infantry Regiment monument from Germany to the United States pt.1

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

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James reminisces about his late friend, William Miles and the 369th Regiment's portrayal in movies

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James talks about his family and how he would like to be remembered

DASession

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DAStory

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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

Birth Date

4/21/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

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

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Chalmers Archer's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer talks about his mother's education and employment, as well as where he grew up

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

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Chalmers Archer recalls a story about his paternal grandfather from slavery that is in the book he wrote

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer remembers the stories his father told him about growing up, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer remembers the stories his father told him about growing up, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about how his family came to live at "The Place"

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer talks about his grandparents and his father hearing Booker T. Washington speak

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer discusses his father's service in the military, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer discusses his father's service in the military, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about his siblings and how his parents met

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer talks about his brother, his father's restaurant and his mother's cooking

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer describes his parents' personalities and college plans

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Mississippi, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer talks about his uncles

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Mississippi, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer talks about the barn fire at his family home in Lexington, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer discusses the differences between growing up white and growing up black in Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Chalmers Archer talks about blacks' rights in Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Chalmers Archer talks about the schools he attended as a child

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer talks about his elementary school experience

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer talks about leaving "The Place"

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about his father's involvement with the U.S. Federal Housing Administration program

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer discusses his high school experience, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer discusses his high school experience, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer talks about a gunfight he was involved in Lexington, Mississippi, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about a gunfight he was involved in Lexington, Mississippi, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer talks about the summer he spent in Detroit, Michigan after being involved in a gunfight

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer talks about attending Tuskegee University, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about attending Tuskegee University, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer talks about leaving college to join the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer talks about the Tuskegee Airmen and the prejudicial evacuation of blacks from the Philippines

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer talks about his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about becoming an army medic and his combat experience in World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Chalmers Archer recalls the integration of the U.S. Armed Forces and the Korean War

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer discusses his experience with integration in the military after President Harry Truman's desegregation order

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer talks about being a member of the U.S. Special Forces, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about being a member of the U.S. Special Forces, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer discusses his first mission with the U.S. Special Forces

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer talks about his missions in Southeast Asia and Japan

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer talks about his service during the Vietnam War, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about his service during the Vietnam War, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer talks about his involvement with the civil rights protests in Mississippi

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer talks about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the students killed at Jackson State University

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about his experience at Tuskegee Institute, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer talks about his experience at Tuskegee Institute, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer talks about his experience at Auburn University and the University of Alabama

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer talks about his book, "Growing Up Black in Mississippi"

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about working for Northern Virginia Community College and publishing his second book

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Chalmers Archer talks about his second book, "Green Beret's in the Vanguard"

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer talks about school desegregation efforts in the U.S. with the King of Thailand

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer talks about his first book, teaching career and interest in farming

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about his legacy and his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer talks about his parents

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer talks about his relationships with his siblings

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer speaks about social changes for blacks in Mississippi and in the military

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Slating of Chalmers Archer's interview

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Chalmers Archer describes his photographs

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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 Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Machts Nicht.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/20/1921

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

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

Timing Pairs
0,0:25214,250:38670,332:39150,337:90428,709:111300,893:111660,898:113640,922:120080,962:145276,1157:202708,1640:213664,1791:223700,1854:227620,1903:236360,1990$0,0:3392,33:5624,59:25606,176:49774,331:72554,477:81391,546:89395,616:123274,914:125076,932:126136,946:131754,1005:136480,1017:139900,1057:153955,1164:155635,1177:170456,1297:196726,1485:205206,1586:217520,1680:223232,1778:230907,1836:235450,1901:235912,1908:246019,1984:271419,2252:279862,2339:308538,2502:316938,2563:346190,2815
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Walter Sanderson Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Walter Sanderson Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his mother's family background and the story behind her name

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his mother and her college education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his parents' move to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his earliest childhood memory and his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Walter Sanderson Jr. recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Walter Sanderson Jr. recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood pt.2

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.

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his childhood and elementary school education in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his school and the person who his junior high school was named after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his favorite subject in junior high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his maternal grandfather's history and describes his high school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his participation in the high school cadet corps

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about famous African Americans from his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his career goals following graduation from high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about the events in Europe during World War II, pt 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about the events in Europe during World War II, pt 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes the racism he encountered when applying for a job with the Weather Bureau

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Walter Sanderson Jr. recounts the military's attitude towards African American soldiers

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about serving as 2nd Lieutenant of the 93rd Infantry Division's 25th Regiment

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Walter Sanderson Jr. discusses the history of the 25th Regiment and segregation in the military

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his tour of duty in the Pacific and his first combat experience

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes a gruesome incident he witnessed during his tour of duty in the Pacific

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Walter Sanderson Jr. discusses the Battle of Morotai, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Walter Sanderson Jr. discusses the Battle of Morotai pt.2

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

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Walter Sanderson Jr. provides a basis for his opinion

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his return to the United States and daughter, Leslie Gale Sanderson

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

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. describes being re-called into active duty in 1951

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. talks about his role as an instructor in the military

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. talks about his participation in the Korean War

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. comments on the torture of Chinese prisoners by the United States military

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. recalls his interactions with white subordinates

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. talks about the white officer that saved his life on the battlefield

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Walter Sanderson Jr. comments on the inhumanity of war

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Walter Sanderson Jr. comments on race relations between black and white soldiers during the Korean War

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his career with the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Walter Sanderson Jr. discusses changes in the character of frontline warfare

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Walter Sanderson Jr. discusses his retirement in 1977 and reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Walter Sanderson Jr. explains his philosophy on life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Walter Sanderson Jr. explains the significance of President Barack Obama's election

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his parents and how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

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.

Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honore

United States Army Lieutenant General (Retired) Russel L. Honoré, was born in 1947 to Udell and Lloyd Honoré in Lakeland, Louisiana. Honoré was the eighth of twelve children. Raised on a subsistence farm in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, Honoré was taught to value hard work. Honoré attended Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he earned his B.S. degree in vocational agriculture. After completing ROTC training at Southern University, Honoré entered the U.S. Army as an Infantry Officer for the United States Army Combat Development Command in 1971.

During his 37 year career in the United States military, Honoré held a variety of positions and served in a number of commanding and supervisory positions, including Instructor at the United States Army Armor School; Commander for the C Company, 4th Battalion, 5th Infantry; and Assistant G-1 (Personnel) for the 1st Infantry Division (Forward), United States Army Europe and Seventh Army. In 1989, Honoré became the commander for the 4th Battalion, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division (Forward) in support of Operations Desert Shield/Storm. Between 1999 and 2000, Honoré served as the Vice Director for Operations for the Joint Staff, where he supported the Department of Defense planning and response for Hurricane Floyd, as well as the United States’ military response to the devastating flooding in Venezuela (1999) and Mozambique (2000).

In 2004, Honoré became the 33rd commanding general of the U.S. First Army at Fort Gillem, Georgia. In this position, Honoré coordinated the U.S. military’s preparedness and response to Hurricane Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, Honoré was designated commander of Joint Task Force Katrina. Honoré’s arrival in New Orleans came after what was widely believed to be a poor performance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Honoré gained media celebrity and accolades for his apparent turning around of the situation in the city as well as his gruff management style which contrasted with what many felt were the empty platitude of civilian officials.

Following his retirement from the military on January 11, 2008, Honoré declared that he would spend the second half of his life committed to creating a culture of preparedness in America. In this regard, Honoré joined The Gallup Organization as a Senior Scientist; the faculties of Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and Nell Hodgson School of Nursing. Honoré also served as a CNN Preparedness contributor. Since 2008, Honoré has worked as a public speaker with Keppler Speakers out of Arlington, Virginia. In 2009 he wrote a popular radio segment entitled “Work is a Blessing” for National Public Radio (NPR)’s program, This I Believe. Honoré has published many written works including his 2009 book, Survival: How a Culture of Preparedness Can Save You and Your Family from Disasters and soon to be published, War Stories: Leadership in the New Normal.

Honoré is the recipient of numerous military and civilian awards, including six honorary doctorates from schools such as Stillman College and the United States Army War College. He received the 2006 NAACP Humanitarian Award, National Newspaper Publishers Association Newsmaker of the Year Award; Defense Distinguished Service Medal; and Army Distinguished Service Medal; as well as Keys to the City for Chrisholm, Minnesota, Riverdale, Georgia, St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Honoré lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with his wife Beverly.

Russel Honoré was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 29, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.091

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/29/2012

Last Name

Honore

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

L.

Organizations
Schools

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Troy University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Russel

Birth City, State, Country

Lakeland

HM ID

HON01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

Ignorance can be fixed, stupidity is for life.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Birth Date

9/15/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baton Rouge

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Lieutenant general (retired) Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honore (1947 - ) is an expert on emergency preparedness and is widely credited for turning around the U.S. government’s response to Hurricane Katrina as the commander of Joint Task Force Katrina.

Employment

United States Army

Gallup Organization

Emory University

Vanderbilt University

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:2186,37:4945,86:5301,91:24786,287:43780,420:54418,596:61826,672:62722,681:63170,686:67594,728:71546,793:74770,830:78600,851:116155,1201:120050,1242:120410,1247:137136,1435:176485,1714:178430,1846:183880,1892:189378,1999:189768,2093:242130,2545:249929,2621:254128,2759:260902,2829:275790,3001$0,0:1056,54:12232,299:17424,400:31992,527:38157,683:38696,798:40159,827:51168,998:52473,1017:54300,1043:56040,1096:61018,1145:61508,1151:62194,1159:63174,1172:67006,1199:67638,1209:110286,1627:114720,1683:117576,1697:117928,1702:119512,1729:144657,1955:164688,2227:173622,2276:186753,2439:192580,2519:198828,2633:223848,3055:227713,3085:239190,3228:246192,3318:283251,3764:291736,3867:294578,3932:310630,4151:311470,4166:322103,4286:322751,4296:323430,4301
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lieutenant General Russel Honore's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore describes his family's Creole culture

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about floods in Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about his father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about his siblings and his household

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore describes his earliest memory growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about his grade school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about the differences between Creoles and African Americans

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about his involvement in the 4-H Club

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about his involvement in 4-H during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about his lack of athletic ability

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore describes the mentors who directed him towards college

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore describes why he chose to attend Southern University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about his high school peers

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about his leadership in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about his grandfather

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore describes working for his cousin while at Southern University pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore describes working for his cousin while at Southern University pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about how he came to own a horse during college

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about his cousin Raymond Honore

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about Dr. Booker T. Whatley at Southern University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about his ROTC teachers at Southern University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about his mentors at Southern University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about Felton G. Clark pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about Felton G. Clark pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about the sit-ins at Southern University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore describes his time in the ROTC at Southern University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about the Vietnam War

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lieutenant General Russel Honore describes why he chose a career in the Army

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about the sit-ins at Southern University
Lieutenant General Russel Honore talks about the Vietnam War
Transcript
Do you kind of reflect on that time, from time to time, and about how that, you know, this crisis--?$$Oh, yeah. I mean, let's say we go from-- We had a ROTC [Reserve Officers' Training Corp] student got shot. I mean, this was right across from the ROTC building. I think I was on my first assignment when I read about this in the paper. The students were doing a sit-in at the old Administration Building, and they said, "We got to break this sit-in up." So the college police went there and the sheriff came in, and they said, "You know we got people shot over a sit-in on campus." I was already in the Army, and that was--that was pretty disturbing.$$I think two students were shot, what, in 1970?$$Right.$$On campus.$$That was most unfortunate.$$There was a mysterious-- They never found who shot them or never been an arrest.$$So, I mean, those things left an indelible mark on the university. I remember being in my dorm and again, from a sit-in, the sheriff come in, you could see the scenario. They got these old armored cars, and they had these gas masks on, and you go from a sit-in to damn near a riot where people shooting--with them shooting tear gas and running people down the street, dogs running after them. And in many cases it was over a sit-in. And they said, "Power to People." And that was most disturbing. I always remember that one, right there on the campus. People running and--to get away from that tear gas, and closing my window and hunkering down in my-- Two hours later, you never knew it happened but other than a few sheriff cars around.$$When you look back on that, do you think they could have--the authorities could have handled it a different way?$$Oh, yeah. I didn't (unclear), I think both sides got what they wanted or thought they got what they wanted, because people in our community say that the only way, if it takes me sacrificing myself for this movement [Civil Rights Movement] in that the police may, who think they're doing the right thing and coming in with overwhelming force to break up a sit-in, that at the end of the day, that truth will be on our side, that we were sitting in for basic inalienable rights promised to us by the Declaration of Independence, that history will be on our side. On the other hand, the police in their own historical way of using force, say, "No, you cannot assemble, you do not have a permit to be here, and we're just going to beat the hell out of you until you leave or put you in jail." And, you know, it's almost like we bred that in the police forces, 'cause they have a tendency to go back, right to that jungle rule, that soon as something happen, break out the batons, get the sticks out and start beating the hell out of people. And I'm speaking that as a generality, 'cause I know not every police department think that way, but it seem to be a representation of many of them, because we have never come to grips with how our law enforcement deal with civil disobedience in this country.$There weren't that many voices in the black community that, you know, came out against the war [Vietnam War], but I know, in '67 [1967] or so, Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] came out against it.$$Yeah, he did.$$And was, you know, criticized by the [President Lyndon B.] Johnson Administration, "How could he betray his country by speaking out against the Vietnam War?" But there are a lot of people that thought that the war was--$$Yeah, going on too long.$$--yeah, in a way, you know--(unclear) (simultaneous).$$I mean, back then that was the longest war we ever participated in, and they weren't going nowhere.$$Yeah, for right reasons, we weren't there for the right reasons and that sort of thing, you know.$$Yeah.$$And so, did you have to--. I mean, did you have any--what were--. In those days, so you--. How did you feel about it in those days? Were you following that critique of it or did you--.$$No. Certainly, I was aware of the critique and--$$Aside from the heckling aspect that people--.$$Right.$$That kind of thing is one thing, but the critique of it, by, I mean, like, Dr. King.$$Yeah. No, I mean, again, it's one of the first lessons that, at the national and global issue, there are many ways to look at the appreciation of the problem we face. The more global, the more international we get, it becomes more complex. And there are no simple answers. I mean, we went in to Vietnam with all the right reasons. Our fear of Communist exploitation, and what was then identified as a domino effect in Asia. Well, you know, fifty thousand troops later, we still, you know, what's going on? This is not changing. And you got an endless flow of troops out of China who, at that time, was a kingmaker, and still is today, and who's a part of the National Security Council on what they will and will not support. And, through a restraining, a lot of people who did not want this to escalate to a nuclear event between China and the U.S. and Russia, we needed to get out of Vietnam. And I think those voices of discontent about staying there had an influence on the government, which is about the way a democracy is supposed to work. The people speak and the government can get in the war, but it's the people that force them out. We'll always find a reason to stay.$$Okay. And we're in two wars now, war one just ended and this--$$Right. It's going to the people that get us out of Afghanistan, because there's always folks who, "Oh, just give us two more years," and many of them are folks that come from the same cut of cloth I come from. "Give us two more years, get a few more billion dollars." But there come a time that each one of these things has got to be over with.$$Okay.$$And I think, in a positive way, Dr. King helped influence that movement that it was time to leave Vietnam.$$As a soldier--a soldier has to think a little bit differently about the war, right? I mean (unclear)(simultaneous).$$Yeah, because your mission is to fight it. I mean, your mission is to win it. It's to fight and win, that's your mission. And there's nothing short of fighting and winning. And that's why we exist. And, even though there may be discontent as there's always discontent with war. And there was discontent among Americans over even fighting the Revolutionary War against the British. There are people who are content say, "Yeah, well, King George the Third, you know, he's a nice guy, and the fact that we can't vote and we've got to pay tax; no big deal, you know. We're doing all right." But to the little guy, it's a big problem. And so, there is--there's always both sides of the story. In this particular case, I think with the impact television had on that war [Vietnam War], which we hadn't had on any war in history before or seen those guys coming off the battlefield every day and put on helicopters, I think that influenced American people significantly. And then so many people served in Vietnam; 'cause you had the draft, and then they'd come in for eighteen months, your six months' training, go to Vietnam, come back in two years, they home. So, we had a lot of people serve in Vietnam because of the draft. And they would go for one tour and come back and go home. So, we generated a lot of veterans from Vietnam as a result of that.

Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr.

A long time military officer, Major General Arthur Holmes, Jr. served almost four decades in the United States Army, retiring as a Commanding General. A highly distinguished officer, he won several awards and decorations such as the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal and the Distinguished Service Medal.

Holmes began his military career as a member of a Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program in college. In June 1952, upon graduation, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Filling a variety of roles, Holmes served twice as a Maintenance Battalion Commander, the second in Vietnam; a member of the Guidance and Procedures Branch of the Logistics Directorate for the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Chief of Ordnance Branch of the Officer Personnel Direc¬torate at the U.S Army Military Personnel Center before becoming Command¬er of the Division Support Command for the First Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Riley, Kansas; and subsequently served as Assistant Division Commander-Support for the same unit, the first Combat Service Support officer to fill the position. Holmes - then made history - becoming the first combat service support officer to serve as Executive Officer to the Secretary of the Army from 1977 until 1979. Holmes’ final post - before retiring in 1987 - was that of Commanding General, U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Command, where he oversaw the delivery of 30,000 tactical vehicles to the field with the highest level of user satisfaction yet achieved. On behalf of his service to the U.S. Army, in 1991, Holmes became am Inductee in the 1999 Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame.

Arthur Holmes, Jr. was born on May 12, 1931 in Decatur, Alabama. He earned his B.S. degree in chemistry from the Hampton Institute – now called Hampton University, and his M.B.A degree from Kent State (Ohio) University. Holmes is also a graduate of the Naval War College. Moving on from the military, he became highly involved in business and governmental life serving for eight years as Vice-President of Logistics Applications and then President and CEO of the Automated Sciences Group, Inc. - a high-tech corporation with 300 computer scientists and engineers and average annual revenue of $28 million. Holmes also served a seven year stint with the Montgomery County Planning Board, serving as a commissioner, and then vice-chair and chairman. Between 2002 and 2004, he served as Director of Go Montgomery! – a Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT) agency devoted to implementing the County’s Master Plan in all transportation regions. He took over the helm of DPWT, in October 2004.

Holmes is involved with many boards and organizations including Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He and his wife, Wilma, have four children and six grandchildren, and they reside in Olney, Maryland.

Holmes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 29, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.100

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/29/2008

Last Name

Holmes

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Maynard Elementary School

Beardsly Junior High School

Austin-East Magnet High School

Hampton University

U.S. Naval War College

Kent State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Arthur

Birth City, State, Country

Decatur

HM ID

HOL12

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

San Diego, California

Favorite Quote

We Can Do It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

5/12/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Major general Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. (1931 - ) retired from the military as Commanding General, U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Command, where he oversaw the delivery of 30,000 tactical vehicles to the field with the highest level of user satisfaction yet achieved. He also served as Director of Go Montgomery!, a Department of Public Works and Transportation in Alabama.

Employment

United States Army

Automated Science Group

Montgomery County Planning Board

Montgomery County Department of Transportation

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his family's frequent moves

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes remembers his childhood activities and best friend

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his early educational experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes describes his religious upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls the African American athletes of his youth

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his high school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls playing basketball at Austin High School in Knoxville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers the home front of World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls the heroism of Doris Miller

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his aspirations during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about the desegregation of the U.S. military

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his first impression of the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers his professors and classmates at the Hampton Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his ROTC training at the Hampton Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls joining the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers his deployment to Germany

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his U.S. military experiences in Germany

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his return to the United States

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes the duties of the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about equipment maintenance in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about the U.S. Army's weapons regulations

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his career in the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his deployment to Vietnam

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers the United States Naval War College

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls working for the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about the promotion process in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls the early African American generals in the U.S. military

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about personnel management in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls meeting General Colin L. Powell

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his appointment as the executive officer to secretary of the army

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his duties under the secretary of the army

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers Clifford L. Alexander, Jr. and President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers fragging incidents during the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his leadership style in Vietnam

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about the prevalence of drugs in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers meeting foreign dignitaries

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his promotion to brigadier general

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his responsibilities as a brigadier general

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about his graduate and professional training

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his responsibilities as a brigadier general

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his retirement from the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers joining the Montgomery Country Planning Board

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about his directorship of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. remembers his transition to civilian life

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about his work at the Montgomery County Department of Transportation

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

8$3

DATitle
Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes remembers his childhood activities and best friend
Maj. Gen. Arthur Holmes, Jr. recalls his appointment as the executive officer to secretary of the army
Transcript
Can you tell us about some of the places you lived and what were some of the sights and sounds and smells of growing up?$$Well, in, in Decatur [Alabama], it was, it was right in the neighborhood and there wasn't much to do except, you know, you played marbles, you tried to play baseball in some of the yards. There wasn't a lot of recreation facilities for blacks in Decatur at that particular time. When we moved up in the Chattanooga [Tennessee] area, we were actually in a little town called Soddy, Tennessee [Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee] and there were twenty-one black families there and I can remember roaming the fields there and I remember we found some Indian cigars, so to speak, and we, you had to take those and, and (unclear) tobacco and you have to dry them out and I forgot to take them out of the oven (laughter) and my mom [Grace Bradley Holmes] found, found those things but I remember those, those were good days. We, we played cowboys and Indians [Native American] and that's when you had the guns with caps in 'em and it was a, I had a good childhood. I don't have bad memories of a childhood and I had a loving--a loving family.$$Okay, now what about Knoxville [Tennessee]? Now--$$In, in Knoxville, I went to, to the grammar school there for the second semester and I met my best friend, an individual, Edward Hill, who I talk with right now, once or twice a week. We're like brothers. There's nothing that Ed wouldn't do for me, I wouldn't do for him.$$Okay.$$And, and they called us Mutt and Jeff. I don't know whether you remember the cartoon, Mutt and Jeff. Mutt, Mutt was a very tall guy and Jeff was a very short guy so if you go to Knoxville, Tennessee, if you see Ed Hill, they'll, they'll know Art Holmes [HistoryMaker Major General Arthur Holmes, Jr.], they'll ask you about him because we just, we were very, very close.$$So was he very short?$$Yeah, he was very short. He didn't grow until he went to college and he, I think he's about 5', 5'9" now.$$Okay, and you're about 6'3" right?$$I'm 6'3".$$Okay, all right. So, Mutt and Jeff, yeah--$$Mutt and Jeff (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) it was a popular comic strip in all the papers in those days.$$That's right, yeah.$$Yeah.$Now what else about, when you were head of Ordnance for the (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, I was head of the, of the Ordnance Corps [U.S. Army Ordnance Corps] for approximately eighteen months and after that I went to Fort Riley [Kansas] and I commanded the division support command in the 1st Infantry Division and I did that for eighteen months.$$Now about what year is this?$$Say again?$$What year is this?$$This would have been '75 [1975], '76 [1976] until early '77 [1977].$$Okay.$$And in early '77 [1977], I became the assistant division commander for the 1st Infantry Division. There were two assistant division commanders and I was one of those and I did that for approximately three months and then I was selected by the secretary of the army to be the executive officer to the secretary of the army, and that's the highest military officer in the secretary of the army's officer--office.$$Okay.$$And I was the first black to be an executive to the secretary of the army who was a black at that particular time, Clifford Alexander [Clifford L. Alexander, Jr.].$$Okay, all right, all right. Now this is in '76 [1976]?$$Seventy-five [1975], '76 [1976], '77 [1977], I was his executive officer for two years.$$Yeah, now Clifford Alexander was appointed by Jimmy Carter [President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.]?$$By Jimmy Carter.$$All right, okay, all right. Now, were you surprised when you were selected or did you--$$Oh, very much so. I was out at Fort Riley as the assistant division commander, I was waiting to go to another command to command a depot in Red River, Red River Depot [Red River Army Depot] in Texarkana, Texas and I'd been out in the field with checking troops and training and I came back and the commanding general secretary said, "They, secretary of the army's office would like for you to call him," and I said, "Fine." I said, who's the secretary of the army because at that particular time, there was a transition and I didn't know who had been. So they said, come up and they wanted to interview me and I said I'll never get that particular job, first being a tactical service officer as opposed to a combat arm's officer and my daughters [Deborah Holmes Cook and Sharon Holmes Key] were back here so I said, I'll get a free trip back here to see my daughters and my interview with the secretary of the army lasted approximately ten minutes and I walked out of there saying, well, you know, that was a, that was a good time, I got to see my daughters, and I went to the airport at Dulles [Washington Dulles International Airport, Dulles, Virginia], getting ready to go back to Kansas and I got a call that said, "Colonel Holmes [HistoryMaker Major General Arthur Holmes, Jr.], would you pick up one of the courtesy phones," and I picked it up and the guy who was the acting executive said, "The secretary of the army wants to talk with you," and so I was hang--holding on and he came back on and said, he had to go up and see the secretary of defense so he will call you tomorrow. So I said to him, "Hey, you can't keep me hanging like this. What is it?" And he said, you know, "I can't tell you that." He said, "The secretary of the army has to tell you his decision," but he said, "I don't think you'll be disappointed," and when I got back to Fort Riley, the next day, I got a call that said the secretary of the army wanted me to come to the Pentagon [Washington, D.C.] and be his executive officer.$$Well, okay then, that doesn't get too much better than this.$$It does not.$$Okay, so (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I--that was one of the happiest moments in my life--$$Okay.$$--my military life, I should say.