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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

Re: John P. Campbell~ Buffalo Soldier

I am very aware of the purpose for an obituary. My comments were not directed at the personal history of Master Sergeant Campbell. He had indeed served honorably and with several of the finest regiments in the US Army. My comments referred directly to these passages in the obituary.

“It was through the efforts of this brave regiment that the west was really won. The Buffalo Soldiers performed the dirtiest and hardest work, survived lenghthy patrol duty and had more personal dealing with territorial Indians than any other military group. They also played a major role in the success of World War I, then being known as "Dough Boys."

The West was not won by the “Buffalo Soldiers”, inferring that they played a greater role than their white counter parts. It implies that they did the “lions Share” of the fighting and work. If we are to admit to this, then we are to also accept the burden of responsibility that comes with such a claim, that the “Buffalo Soldiers” are responsible for the greater share of the slaughter, murder, displacement and removal of the First Nations People from their land. Which way do we want it, because we can’t have it both ways? The facts show the force numbers of the Black Regulars were 10% of the US Army’s frontier fighting regiments. That percentage in and of itself could not have defeated the Native Nations.

The share of duties performed by the Black Regulars were no more or less difficult than those of the soldiers of other regiments on the frontier. Life for the trooper and the infantrymen was equally harsh. Both black and white shared the same “40 miles a day on beans and hay”, the same life and death experiences. There were plenty of Native Americans to “go round”, lots of country to reconnoiter, thousands of miles of rail lines, telegraph lines to lay down and guard. A dozen water holes stretched out over 3000 miles and more out post than forts to man and call home. The “Buffalo Soldiers”, had their share of the entire, no more, no less.

Neither of the regiments, the 9th, 10th, 24th and 25th had effective combat roles during WW1. That glory falls like a “hard rain” on the “Fighting 369th”, otherwise known as the “Harlem Hell Fighters”. The success of the 369th is measured by the high esteem given the unit by the European allies and the enemy alike and recognition by both of the fighting skills and spirit of the Black regiment.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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