24th Infantry in Korean War

The Times is to be commended for its continuing coverage of the Army’s last black 24th Infantry Regiment and of the 10-year effort to correct the unit’s mistreatment in official Korean War history.

Unfortunately, John Broder’s article (“War and Black GIs’ Memories,” Part A, Nov. 15) treated only the 24th’s initial weeks in Korea, rehashing many of the negative reports of the 24th and every other regiment’s baptism to fire without reporting a single subsequent outstanding combat action. As I have long maintained, the 24th fought as well as other American regiments throughout its 14 1/2 months of extended front-line combat.

Broder also fails to complete an important comparison between the 24th and two sister regiments during the initial weeks of combat. The 24th experienced an unprecedented 13 changes in battalion commanders (only two were casualty-related) in its first three months in action--an average of one new battalion CO per week, not the one per month Broder reports. Its sister battalions, the 27th and 35th, had just one and three changes, respectively.

The fact that the 24th had throughout these initial two months fought as well as other American regiments is a tribute to the extraordinary performance of the regiment’s company-grade officers, white and black, and to its exceptional NCOs.



Los Angeles