Article excerpt

Army Integration

* I read with great interest the article by Maj. Gen. Edward B. Atkeson, "Bright, Brilliant, Brave-and Black" (August). His experience with outstanding black officers in a number of ways resembles mine.

My first assignment after graduating from West Point in 1941 was with the 41st "singing" Engineers. This outstanding unit bested the 9th Infantry Division at maneuvers conducted at Fort Bragg, N.C. It was the first unit to be deployed overseas in World War II. We built an airfield in Liberia and protected precious rubber plantations from falling into the hands of the Germans. This unit provided the cadre for the 92nd Infantry Division, in which I served, from its inception to its deactivation.

During the time I commanded the 317th Engineer Battalion of the division, I received a letter from Senator Truman.

He sought my opinion about the integration of black and white troops. I told him I thought the Army should be integrated.

I do not know if I can accept any credit, but by the time I commanded the 34th Infantry Regiment during the Korean War, President Truman had ordered the integration of black and white troops.

It is also interesting that when I was a three-star general, I was slated to take a four-star position in NATO. Instead, I was shunted off to become the chief strategic arms negotiator, and the "bright black officer" in Gen. Atkeson's article filled the NATO job.

Again, my congratulations to Gen. Atkeson for a splendid article.


Former Ambassador

Washington, D.C.


* Fortunately I did not rush to thank you for Maj. Gen. Guy Meloy's terrific "Mistakes Beget Wiser Colonels and Generals" in the August issue as soon as I had read it. Almost 40 pages later was Maj. Gen. Edward Atkeson's "Bright, Brilliant, Brave-and Black." Words fail me. I will not even try to express my admiration.

I have been an AUSA member since 1982-almost entirely, I have to tell you, because of ARMY Magazine. …