Academic journal article Military Review

Becton: Autobiography of a Soldier and Public Servant

Academic journal article Military Review

Becton: Autobiography of a Soldier and Public Servant

Article excerpt

BECTON: Autobiography of a Soldier and Public Servant, Julius W. Becton Jr., Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 2008, 279 pages, $29.95.

Lieutenant General Julius Becton's well-written autobiography details his early life, outlines his notably successful military career, and continues with his equally successful service in a variety of challenging civilian government positions.

He reveals his life as a young black American growing up in a middle class Pennsylvania town, the son of hardworking parents. From that background, he entered military service during World War II, attended Officer Candidate School, served in combat during World War II, the Korean War, and eventually as a battalion commander in South Vietnam, commanding the 2d Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division.

His perspective and level of detail provides readers with a clear window of how the Army treated even the most successful black officers during its years of segregation and not always smooth transition through integration of the U.S. Army. While the integration of the Department of Defense is often held up as glowing example of this social effort, it is clear from his description that it was a challenging period requiring patience among minority officers. …

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