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Buffalo Soldiers

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In the year 1986, Congress went ahead and established six all-Black regiments and each had an approximate of 1000 soldiers who were to assist in the rebuilding of the country after the Civil War and also manning and patrolling the remote western frontier. These given regiments were the 9th and the 10th Calvary and the 38th, 39th, 40th and finally the 41st Infantry. In the process the four infantry regiments made a plan and reorganized themselves that ultimately led to the formation of the 24th and 25th Infantry in the year 1989. Even though the monthly salary was very low, that is $13, most of the African Americans just enlisted owing to the fact that they could make more in the military than any other place. Nevertheless this offered them much more dignity than typically could be got acquired from the civilian life.

Just like legend had it, the Native Americans had named the Black cavalry troops “buffalo soldiers” and this was due to their dark curly hair which was alleged to resemble a buffalo’s coat. Aware of the buffalo’s fierce bravery and also fighting spirit, the African American troops were very much willing to adopt the name actually with pride and honor. During the 1870’s-1880’s, the Buffalo Soldiers wore a given flannel shirt and a blouse that was dark blue in color, with a light blue pair of trousers that was tucked into over-the-knee boots. Still they also could wear a certain civil war ‘kepi’ (hat) that was adorned with some crossed sabers that bore regimental and also troop designation. Later the Buffalo Soldiers were outfitted with a slouch ‘campaign’ hat. At first it was black but up to the year 1874, the color had been changed to grayish-brown.

Buffalo Soldiers are remembered through their imperative role when it was a question of protecting settlers, the building of roads and roads and also mapping of wilderness as the U.S. had settled and developed the west. Even though the Buffalo Soldiers are well known for engaging conflicts with the entire region’s native people, they were also in the front line in fighting the Mexican and Anglo bandits, the escorted stage coaches and paymasters. Actually in one occasion they were bold enough to stand between Indian peoples and Texas Militia. By the 1890’s, Black soldiers entailed 20 percent of the America’s frontier cavalry that performed exemplary service. All this took place within a military that remained segregated until the time President Harry S. Truman ultimately ordered its integration in 1948. Up to the end of the Indian wars, 18 medals of honor and other 12 Certificates of Merit were awarded to Buffalo Soldiers for their given valor, courage and endurance. Apparently the African American units normally have the lowest desertion rate in the entire Army.

The ending of the 19th century witnessed the crumbling of the Spanish empire amid the struggling for independence of its two colonies, Philippines and Cuba. Immediately after the U.S. battleship Maine had mysteriously exploded in Cuba’s Havana Harbor on February 15, 1898, the then U.S. President and the Congress ended up yielding to a popular sentiment and subsequently declared war on Spain. The Military campaigns swiftly began on both islands.

Seasoned troops of the 9th Calvary were one of the earliest to arrive in Cuba whereby along the 10th Cavalry fought beside Theodore Roosevelt’s volunteer “Rough Riders” hence assisting them to storm San Juan Hill. Amid the war ended after a period of seven months, five of the Buffalo Soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor and other 28 Certificates of Merit. Nevertheless as these heroes were fighting colonialism overseas, their families back at home badly suffered from racial discrimination, lynching and even riots.

The period after the Philippines became a possession of the U.S, it being as a result of the American defeat of Spain in 1898, the nationalists in Filipino began a stringent campaign for independence against their former allies. At this instance the Buffalo Soldiers were rightly in action against the Filipino forces during a subsequent three-year bloody war. In the year 1899, all companies from all four African American regiments reported to the then Presidio of San Francisco to embark for the Philippines. It was during the time he was in Philippine that Black troopers trekked through jungles and over mountains in order to track and fight the elusive nationalists, to guard communication lines and rather to escort the supply trains.

At this instance Buffalo soldiers commenced returning from the Philippines in 1902, going through the Presidio on their way to new assignments. About four troops of the 9th Cavalry were to remain at the Presidio until the year 1904; this being the first African American units that had been posted on regular garrison duty at the post. Amid this particular period, 9th Cavalry soldiers were serving as Presidential Escort of Honor for Theodore Roosevelt the moment he visited San Francisco in 1903. Apparently happened to be the first time African American troops were granted this honorable role.

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