Monday, February 14, 2011

Service of African Americans was forgotten

An artist's conception of Crispus Attucks
(1723–1770), first "martyr" of the American Revolution.
The military history of African Americans spans from the arrival of the first black slaves during the colonial history of the United States to the present day. There has been no war fought by or within the United States in which African Americans did not participate, including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, theSpanish American War, the World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as other minor conflicts. According to wikipedia details Jesse L. Brown became the U.S. Navy's first black aviator in October 1948. He was killed when his plane was shot down during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. He was unable to eject from his crippled F4U Corsair and crash-landed successfully. His injuries and damage to his aircraft prevented him from leaving the plane. A white squadron mate, Thomas Hudner, crash-landed his F4U Corsair near Brown and attempted to extricate Brown but could not and Brown died of his injuries. Hudner was awarded the Medal of Honor for his efforts. The U.S. Navy honored Jesse Brown by naming an escort ship after him—the U.S.S. Jesse L. BrownNow Services of African Americans in Korean War. were honored.Terri Moon Cronk of the American Forces Press Service reported the event in very interesting way. This very very  interesting report issued on February 12 but it reached us on Monday Feb 14, 2011 at  8:05 PM. in his report Terri Moon Cronk writes says African Americans fought against Communism during the Korean War of 1950-53 to protect the rights of individuals, even as their own civil rights were denied at home, the Defense Department's top equal opportunity official said here yesterday. Speaking during a Pentagon ceremony to honor African American veterans of the Korean War, Ronald M. Joe, acting director of the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity, said America now remembers the contributions of African American veterans during the war sometimes called "The Forgotten War" or the "The Forgotten Victory." 
"Yours is a distinguished generation in the history of African American military service," Joe said to a group of seven Korean War veterans in attendance. "You belong to a legacy older than the Declaration of Independence, one that includes the legendary service of the Massachusetts 54th in our Civil War, the Buffalo Soldiers in the West, the 92nd Division and the Tuskegee Airman of World War II."
For too long, he said, the service of African Americans during the Korean War was forgotten, "but it should be clear to all of you that you are forgotten no more."
Joe said the armed forces has played a pivotal role in the nation's pursuit of equity for all Americans, following  President Harry S. Truman's 1948 Executive Order 9981, which called for the end of segregation in the military.
The Korean War "interrupted" work to desegregate all-black units, so many of those units went into the conflict.
It was when fighting intensified in Korea that the armed forces realized they had "a manpower problem," Joe said. Increasingly, large numbers of black American draftees and volunteers were in the training pipeline, but no more room existed in the segregated units.
Joe said Army studies showed "integration was a more efficient policy than segregation." The result, he said, was that "Black Americans were individually assigned to units on an as-needed basis, and the Army began working toward true integration."
The last two years of the Korean War, after all-black units were disbanded and ended segregation in the U.S. military, African Americans had served in command positions, in elite units such as combat aviation, and served in a variety of technical specialties, Joe said.
The military began a social movement, he said, that served as a model or the nation and as a pattern for other military organizations. The armed force has made impressive progress toward equality, but work is yet to be completed, because women and minorities are still under-represented, Joe added.
A number of other speakers made brief remarks at the ceremony, including members of a panel of Korean War veterans; South Korean Defense Attaché Brig. Gen. General Lee, Seo Young; and Frank Martin, producer of "For the Love of Liberty: The story of America's Black Patriots." The audience watched a 15-minute segment of Martin's four-hour documentary.
Today's Black History Month observance stems from the Department of Defense 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemorative Committee, created by Congress to honor the service and sacrifice of Korean War veterans, their families and those who lost loved ones in the conflict.

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