Letters to the Editor

LTE: Uniform Change Disrespect

Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 21:45:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: “Carlos Poysky”
Subject: Letter to the Editor

I am writing you in regards to General Shinsekis order to give the entire Army the black beret that was, until now, reserved for the Airborne Rangers. This act is disrespecting to the first African Americans who served in a Specialized Infantry unit in combat.

I am referring to the 2nd Airborne Ranger Company in the Korean War. It was the first elite unit that had African-Americans in its ranks, as well as the last all black unit in the armed forces.

These brave men, proved themselves to our country and the world. Three days after arriving in Korea, they drove away about 150 red guerrillas that were firing on a medical aid station near their post. The terrorized guerillas fled to the roaring sound of the Rangers screaming, “Buffalo”. They parachuted into the rice paddies on combat missions into enemy machinegun, and mortar fire.

These men fought gallantly and bravely. Not only did they have to face enemy bullets, but they had to fight to get most of their missions from a racist military, that simply figured that they couldn’t handle the harder missions. These men were in a segregated unit, a few years after President Truman desegregated the military. Yet they had to remain segregated if they wanted to be part of an elite unit. They accepted this, so they could prove to the country that an African-American has a place in the more prestigious and elite units of the military.

They set a standard and guideline that no one could argue with. They set a heritage for today’s Black a soldier that says, “we have been there, and done that- and no one can ever say that we are not up to the task again”. Imagine where we would be in this country had they failed just a few years after President Truman’s new policy for the military.

These men are already neglected by history, while men like the Tuskegee Airmen are depicted in movies and novels, the exploits of the 2nd Airborne Ranger Company is all but forgotten by the general public.

The final straw is that General Shinseki is going to take the Black beret that the 2nd Ranger Company was awarded with so much respect and honor, and disperse it for anyone in the Army to wear. This is an insult to these men, as well as all Rangers who sacrificed so much for the black beret. Please help us in the fight to preserve the black beret for the elite Rangers and to protect the lineage and history that it represents.


Carlos Poysky

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