African American Soldiers (03:31)
African Americans have fought in every American war but were often kept out of combat roles. No World War II soldiers received Medals of Honor. The army did not investigate the oversight until 1991.
Medals Research (02:35)
Research from Shaw University in 1994 found white officers were not allowed to recommend African American soldiers for Medals of Honor in WWII. Ten received Distinguished Services Crosses. Their cases were reevaluated by the military, and seven were awarded medals.
Army Lt. John R. Fox (06:27)
The 92nd Infantry Division was the largest all black unit; it had poor white leadership and minimal combat training. In 1944, Germans surrounded the soldiers in an Italian village. Fox gave his life to save his fellow soldiers.
Lt. Vernon Baker (10:04)
Baker was a combat solider with the 92nd Division fighting in Italy. His unit was tasked with taking Castle Aghinolfi from the Germans. He killed six German soldiers and took command when a white captain refused to continue.
Priv. George Watson (03:42)
In 1943, Japanese bombers attacked the cargo ship SS 's Jacob. More than 150 sailors, many of whom could not swim, ended up in the water. Watson saved dozens of them but drowned when the ship went down.
Staff Sgt. Edward A. Carter (03:50)
Carter was with the combat troops fighting the Germans in the Rhineland in 1945. He volunteered to lead a squad to mark German positions. Despite being wounded, he took out a German machine gun and a German unit, capturing two prisoners.
Lt. Charles Thomas (02:50)
In 1944, Thomas volunteered to be in the lead vehicle of an advance. When the vehicle was hit, he pulled the wounded to safety and manned the gun, to create cover for the medics. Before his evacuation due to injuries, he briefed his second.
Priv. First Class Willie James (01:40)
In 1945, James volunteered to scout German positions in a valley. While under fire, he took note of their positions, enabling the capture of a nearby town. He was killed while going back to help a wounded commander.
Staff Sgt. Ruben Rivers (09:54)
The U.S. Army erased the achievements of the all black 761st Tank Battalion. In 1944, Rivers refused to leave despite an injury. He sacrificed himself to protect his men from a German Panzer Division.
Credits: Honor Deferred (00:19)
Credits: Honor Deferred
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