Buffalo Soldier

The Soldiers Seldom Talked About
The Buffalo Soldier   


Many are unaware, that although they still had limited freedom and rights in the United States, the African American community fought for the rights of others on behalf of the United States.  These soldiers have been in force since the 1800’s; they proudly call themselves the Buffalo Soldiers.  "Buffalo Soldiers" was the name given the black cavalrymen by the plains Indians. Reasoning for the name is uncertain. One view is that the Indians saw a resemblance between the black man's hair and the mane of the buffalo. Another view is that when a buffalo was wounded or cornered, it fought ferociously, displaying unusual stamina and courage. This was the same fighting spirit Indians saw in combat with black cavalrymen. Since Indians held the buffalo in such high regard, it was felt that the name was not given in disrespect. The buffalo soldiers were noted for their courage and discipline. Drunkenness, an especially widespread problem in the army, was rare among them; in a period when nearly a third of white army enlistees deserted, the black soldiers had the U.S. Army's lowest desertion and court-martial rates.

Buffalo Soldier Emblem worn on the 
shoulder of the uniform.

Prior to WWII, the black 25th Infantry Regt was based at Ft Huachuca Arizona. During the war, Ft Huachuca served as the home base of the Black 92nd and 93rd Infantry Divisions. The Black Artillery, Tank and Tank Destroyer Battalions as well as Quartermaster & support battalions served in WWII. All of these units carried on the traditions of the "Buffalo Soldiers". 
Despite some official resistance and administrative barriers, black airmen (the Tuskegee Airman) were trained and played a part in the air war in Europe, gaining a reputation for skill and bravery. In early 1945, after the Battle of the Bulge, American forces in Europe experienced a shortage of combat troops so the embargo on using black soldiers in combat units was relaxed. 


The American Military History says:
“Faced with a shortage of infantry replacements during the enemy's counteroffensive, General Eisenhower offered Negro soldiers in service units an opportunity to volunteer for duty with the infantry. More than 4,500 responded, many taking reductions in grade in order to meet specified requirements. The 6th Army Group formed these men into provisional companies, while the 12th Army Group employed them as an additional platoon in existing rifle companies. The excellent record established by these volunteers, particularly those serving as platoons, presaged major postwar changes in the traditional approach to employing Negro troops.”


When not fighting, both regiments built forts and roads, installed telegraph lines, located water holes, escorted wagon trains and cattle drives, rode "shotgun" on stagecoach and mail runs and protected settlers from renegade Indians, outlaws, and Mexican revolutionaries. In nearly 30 years of frontier service buffalo soldiers took part in almost 200 major and minor engagements. From 1870 to 1890, 14 buffalo soldiers were awarded medals of honor, the army's highest award for bravery. In 1944, the end came to the cavalry regiments and the curtain was lowered on the long and glorious past of the "Buffalo Soldiers." The Baltimore Chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers Association hosted the 132nd Anniversary Reunion in 1998. 



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Smithsonian Reporter Interview with a WWII Buffalo Soldier http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Memoirs-of-a-World-War-II-Buffalo-Soldier-.html 
Buffalo Soldier in Combat History and Timeline http://www.history.army.mil/html/topics/afam/combat_photos.html 
Black Warriors Article  http://www.lasentinel.net/Black-Warriors-The-Buffalo-Soldiers-of-World-War-II.html 
366th Infantry Buffalo Soldiers Links to Resources http://www.wiz-worx.com/366th/buffalo.htm 
Library of Congress Audio Interviews with Buffalo Soldiers http://www.loc.gov/vets/stories/ex-war-buffalosoldiers.html 
92nd Infantry Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/92nd_Infantry_Division_%28United_States%29 
Great Dreams History of the Buffalo Soldier http://www.greatdreams.com/war/buffalo-soldiers.htm 
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julie leckman,
Apr 29, 2012, 10:44 PM
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julie leckman,
Apr 29, 2012, 10:19 PM
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julie leckman,
May 1, 2012, 9:42 PM
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julie leckman,
May 8, 2012, 9:15 AM