Segregation in US Armed Forces

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Glider, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I noticed the following photograph in the picture library. That Americans of African heritage were recruited into the Army but were assigned support roles not front line was my understanding. I am sure that we all aware of the USAAF aproach where some were allowed to fly but in segregated units.

    However, the photograph seems to show that in the USN some were given active fighting roles. Can anyone amplify on this or is my understanding wrong.

    Any information would be appreciated.
     

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  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Good question Glider.

    I would suppose that on the smaller ships, just out of necessity, the black crewman did have GQ duties that included helping to man the guns.
     
  3. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    No particular knowledge but I would tend to agree with Syscom. At Pearl Doris Miller was the main cook on the USS W. Virginia but his battle station was the mid-ship antiaircraft battery. when he found that destroyed he was ordered to carry wounded below and was eventually ordered to assist the wounded captain. When captain Bennian refused Doris was ordered to help load one of the .50 cal antiaircraft gun he fired it until it ran out of ammo. He had received no training so did not know how to reload. He escaped when the W. Virgina sank, received the navy cross (first African-American ever) was eventually promoted to petty officer 3rd ship's cook on the USS Liscombe Bay where he was killed when the ship was torpedoed.
    so it would seem segreation still held pretty firmly in the navy even after such an award
     
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