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.
WILLIAM LAWRENCE JR.