Borders and unidentified soldier standing by squad tent
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- Created Date
- Spring/Summer 1953
Robert L. Borders is standing with an unidentified African American soldier in front of Borders's squad tent. In a typical base camp, such as this station at Kumhwa, each squad would be in a tent with eight to ten cots. The squad shared not only a tent, but the same missions. This was Brock's squad tent, as well. 2nd Infantry Division units saw black, white, and South Korean KATUSA soldiers sleeping, eating, working, and relaxing together.
Despite countless examples of brave and devoted military service throughout American history, African Americans continued to face discrimination and segregation in the ranks of the U.S. military on the eve of the Korean War. The battlefield pressure of the Korean War would become the catalyst for the full implementation of President Harry S. Truman's Executive Order No. 9981 that provided for the desegregation of the United States armed forces. Issued in July of 1948, the order set up a presidential oversight commission to work with the military on plans to integrate the branches of service, but black soldiers still served in racially segregated units with virtually all white senior officers when the conflict began in June of 1950. Bloodletting on the battlefields of Korea opened the door for the desegregation of the military. Replacement soldiers were urgently needed in the early days, regardless of the color of their skin. Commander in Chief of the Far East Command General Matthew B. Ridgway began the total integration of U.S. Army combat units in Korea in the late summer and fall of 1951. As of October of 1951, black units were officially closed out, and the average U.S. Army unit became composed of 12% African American soldiers. In Brock's case, his military training program and housing at Fort Leonard Wood were racially integrated, as would be the squad tents of his combat engineer company, with black and white soldiers sleeping, eating, working, and relaxing together. By July of 1953, over 90% of black soldiers were serving in integrated units. An estimated 600,000 African Americans served in the armed forces during the Korean War; roughly 9.3% of Americans killed in Korea were African American. The U.S. Army announced in 1954 that all its units were finally fully integrated. At war's end, African Americans had distinguished themselves with numerous awards derived from courage displayed on the ground and in the air. Though future battles remained regarding discrimination in the military with assignments, promotions, and military justice, African American Korean War soldiers had exhibited their leadership in command positions and showcased their abilities to serve admirably in elite and technical specialty units during the course of the war.
- Brock, David Franklin, 1931
- Digital Library of Tennessee
- Contributing Institution
- Tennessee State Library & Archives
- Korean War, 1950 - 1953
Korean War, 1950 - 1953 -- United States
Korean War, 1950 - 1953 -- Military personnel
United States. Army. Infantry Division, 2nd. Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd
Korean War, 1950 - 1953 -- Participation, African American
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- Chicago citation style
- Brock, David Franklin, 1931. Borders and unidentified soldier standing by squad tent. Spring/Summer 1953. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America, http://cdm15138.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15138coll32/id/325. (Accessed October 21, 2019.)
- APA citation style
- Brock, David Franklin, 1931, (Spring/Summer 1953) Borders and unidentified soldier standing by squad tent. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America, http://cdm15138.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15138coll32/id/325
- MLA citation style
- Brock, David Franklin, 1931. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America <http://cdm15138.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15138coll32/id/325>.