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24th Infantry in Korean War

As a former member of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion who has fought in two wars, Korea (1951-1952) and Vietnam (1966-1967 and 1969-1970), I found the article quite interesting.

I volunteered to serve as a combat infantryman in both wars because I had been taught to serve my country “right or wrong.” I also knew that as a black infantryman I would be assigned to the 24th Infantry Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division or the 3rd Battalion of the 9th Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea. I would have been happy and proud to serve in either unit. Instead, I was assigned to a previously all-white unit, the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment as a rifle squad leader.

The 555th was not allowed to participate in combat during World War II. Among other things, it pioneered “smoke jumping” procedures in the Pacific Northwest. It produced a bountiful supply of trained combat leaders for the wars which have followed. The battalion also produced responsible citizens for this country.

In my heart, the 24th Infantry had a proud combat heritage, for they as well as other black units and soldiers did “so much more with so much less!” We have no reason to be ashamed.

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WILLIAM LAWRENCE JR.

Bloomington, Calif.


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