Chapter V
Units: The Quota Phase

According to the policy of the War Department announced in October 1940, Negro units were to be provided in all arms and services of the Army. According to mobilization regulations, assignments of Negroes to the combat arms were to be in the same ratio as those of whites. In reality, during the early months of mobilization certain branches remained exempt from using any considerable portion of Negro troops. Other branches found themselves absorbing Negroes greatly in excess of their proportion of the draft. This development had been clearly foreseen by the planners of the late thirties, but attempts to distribute Negroes in equal proportion to all branches were resisted by the chiefs of those arms and services which had not traditionally contained Negro units. Though the War Department G-1 and G-3 Divisions continued to warn that these branches must make provision for receiving increased numbers of Negroes and although most of these branches began to make plans for the eventual increase of their Negro units, the actual provision of units, outside of the Corps of Engineers, the Quartermaster Corps, and the Chemical Warfare Service, advanced slowly.

The Distribution Problem
At the end of 1941, the bulk of the nearly 100,000 Negroes then in the Army were in the branches to which they had been allotted in mobilization plans. Three-fifths of the entire number were almost equally divided among infantry, engineer, and quartermaster units. Another fourth were in field and coast artillery units. The small number remaining were scattered among all other branches. Despite the large percentage of all Negroes who were in the infantry, including Regular and National Guard units, only 5 percent of all infantry enlisted men were Negroes. In the Air Corps, Medical Department, and Signal Corps less than 2 percent of all enlisted men were Negroes. But approximately every fourth man in the Corps of Engineers and every sixth man in the Quartermaster Corps was a Negro. Every seventh man (14.6 percent) in the Chemical Warfare Service was a Negro. Of all men who were unassigned or who were in miscellaneous detachments, 27 percent were Negroes.
In the next seven months, during which the number of Negro enlisted men in the Army reached 200,000, their distribution tended to become even more unbalanced. The proportions of Negroes in the Quartermaster and Engineer Corps increased to the point where it appeared possible that every non-technical unit in those branches would soon be Negro. Proportions in the Medical Department increased slightly. On the other hand, in the Air and Signal Corps

Negro representation declined to less than 1 percent of total enlisted strength. Since the Air Corps and the Arms and Services with Army Air Forces (ASWAAF) were increasing in strength at a faster rate than any of the ground arms and services, what had long been apparent now became even more obvious: the distribution of Negroes among the arms and services had to be made more nearly equitable, and the Air Corps, especially, had to increase its percentage of Negro enlisted men. The overrepresentation of Negroes in engineer and quartermaster units and their under representation in the units of other branches also led to reconsideration of their employment in types of units, including divisions, other than those originally provided.
Selective Service pressure on the Army to accept increasingly large numbers of Negroes as they became available through the draft accentuated the need for new units. Selective Service and the War Department discussed "this extremely troublesome problem" frequently, with Selective Service, on occasion, threatening to abandon the procedure of delivering white and Negro selectees on the basis of separate calls as requested by the Army in favor of selection by order number without regard to color quotas.1 The disproportionate numbers of Negroes passed over in filling Army color quotas was proving embarrassing to Selective Service in its public relations. The legality of the whole procedure of separate calls by color was being questioned.
War Department agencies suggested several replies to Selective Service's proposal to abandon calls by separate color quotas: Troop units had been planned on the basis of population ratios and could not be altered without a complete reorganization; Negroes in excess of 10.6 percent who happened to be in Class 1-A could not be inducted without raising the question of Negroes carrying more than their fair share of the military obligation of the country; new units, especially for the Air Forces, were being planned; and, since the Selective Service Act did not limit the obligation for training Negroes to the Army, the Navy, too, should be requested to assume its share of the responsibility. The War Department formally answered Selective Service in a "non-committal" fashion stating that it was not unmindful of the problem and that Selective Service would be kept informed of studies of reallocation and reorganization then under way.2
In the summer of 1942, the first critical shortage of men needed to fill units activated in excess of original plans occurred. For July the Army sent a supplemental call for 65,000 white and Lo,000 Negro men to Selective Service. The Director of Selective Service, Maj. Gen. Lewis B. Hershey, refused to honor the call until its racial proportions were readjusted. He accepted a revised call for 50,000 whites and 20,000 Negroes with the understanding that the August call would contain an even heavier proportion of Negroes. "Otherwise, we feel," G-1 explained, "that popular demands will cause the question to be placed before the War Manpower Board. This should be avoided at all costs as it

would probably result in the Army being forced to accept [men] from the Selective Service System in accordance with their order numbers without regard to color." 3
While successive communications from Selective Service and the interested public were coming in, various plans for the placement and utilization of Negro inductees were proposed and a few of these were tried. But the only plan which would serve to keep the backlog of selectees low enough to satisfy Selective Service would be one that provided enough units for Negroes. Accordingly, the arms and services were told again and again that each must make available a proportionate share of its units for Negro enlisted men. Under the pressure of providing sufficient units for Negroes, the organization of units for the sake of guaranteeing vacancies became a major goal. In some cases, careful examination of the usefulness of the types of units provided was subordinated to the need to create units which could receive Negroes. As a result, several types of units with limited military value were formed in some branches for the specific purpose of absorbing otherwise unwanted Negroes. Conversely, certain types of units with legitimate and important military functions were filled with Negroes who could not function efficiently in the tasks to which they were assigned.
Ground Units for the Air Forces
The branch singled out for much of the public, political, and internal military pressure to expand its use of Negroes was the Air Corps. Public pressures, as explained previously, were the result of long-term campaigns which succeeded in achieving political and press support. Military pressures came from other arms and services and from the general staff divisions. As the lack of balance in proportionate distribution became greater among the arms and services, the War Department and the ground arms and services became convinced that at least part of the answer to the problem lay with the Air Corps. If the Air Corps, rapidly becoming the largest of the Army's branches, absorbed more Negroes, pressure on the ground arms and services to provide more and more Negro units would be lessened. This thinking was later applied as well to the Air Forces as a whole, for if the Arms and Services with the Army Air Forces accepted more Negro units, they could absorb part of the Negro personnel which the ground arms and services would otherwise have to accept.
Because of its high enlistment appeal the Air Corps, in the earlier period of expansion, was able to obtain a majority of its men through regular enlistment channels. Since only selectees were affected by the Selective Service Act's racial clauses, only that portion of the Air Corps personnel which came through the draft was affected by rulings on proportionate Negro strength.
In the fall of 1940, the Air Corps was informed that it would receive 25,000 selectees as its 1941 spring quota. Of these, 9 percent, or 2,250 would be Negro. The Air Corps proposed, initially, that these Negro enlisted men be placed in "air base detachments." These units were to be trained and employed as parts of air base groups. De-

tachments would be authorized when Negro selectees were sent to a given air base. Although they were to be carried in the tables of organization of air base groups, the base "detachment" was intended to prevent mixing Negroes and whites in the same unit. In a "corrected version" suggested by G-3, the Air Corps substituted 250-man "training squadrons (separate) " to be over and above the regular Air Corps allotment of selectees and to be completely separate from air base groups. This arrangement, by which the Air Corps allotment of selectees rose from 25,000 to 27,250 men, would prevent interference with the planned use of the original 25,000 white selectees on whom the Air Corps had counted for its combat group expansion program.4
Before activation of the first nine aviation training squadrons in June 1941, it was explained that they were being organized "solely to take care of the colored selectees allotted to the Air Corps ...." 5 They were later described as activated "to aid in the many duties which must be performed to keep in order the stations of the AAF within the continental limits of the United States." They were intentionally left with their duties vaguely defined so that local commanders might have discretion in the uses to which they were put.6
Aviation squadrons, as these units were later called, were established at every major air base. The troop basis of the Army Air Forces, by 3o June 1 942, provided for 184 such squadrons. A total of 266 were eventually activated.7 A few of these squadrons operated under specific tables of organization, but the vast majority came under the bulk allotment system, under which personnel was allotted to particular commands and headquarters which, in turn, allotted personnel to particular units as required by the using installation. Their strengths therefore fluctuated according to the determined needs of the station to which they were assigned. Aviation squadrons were thereby enabled to absorb, within reasonable limits, as many or as few selectees at a given time as were necessary to maintain the desired distribution of Negroes within the Air Corps.
Another type of Negro unit widely employed by the Air Forces was the aviation quartermaster truck company or air base transportation platoon. These were technically units of the arms and services with the Air Corps and not Air Corps units. They served to absorb the initial proportion of Negroes allotted to the services with the Air Corps. In December 1940, the Air Corps learned that it was being allotted 3,627 Negro enlisted men for duty with its arms and services. "If this is correct," the chief of the Air Corps Plans Division observed,

'it appears that every Quartermaster Truck Company assigned to duty at Air Corps stations will be colored. There may be additional colored personnel of some other service at a few stations." 8 Preparations were made to receive these units, which averaged 7o enlisted men each. It was suggested that future barracks construction at each station provide one or two barracks units separated from others so that "necessary segregation" would be possible if and when the allotment of Negro troops to the Air Corps was increased further by the War Department. The truck companies, but not the transportation platoons, were generally assigned to service groups. Companies were organized either under definite tables or by allotment. Platoons were generally allotment units.
By the end of 1 941 the authorized squadrons and service units with the Air Forces could no longer absorb all of the men which the Air Forces had to take if it was to come close to its proportionate share of Negro strength. As long as the Air Forces did not absorb its share of the increase of Negroes, G-3 insisted, ground branches could expect to continue to be "overloaded with colored due in part to the fact that in the past they have absorbed a considerable number of the colored personnel resulting from expansion of the Army Air Forces."9 During 1942 the Army was to expand to 3,600,000 men. Of these, 337750 were to be Negroes. The Air Forces, which was to expand to 997,687 -more than a quarter of the entire Army-was allotted 53,299 Negroes in 1942, or 10.6 percent of its total increase of 502,822 men. This number, added to the 24,293 Negroes previously allotted (most of whom had not yet been accepted), would give the Air Forces a total of 77592 Negroes.10
The Air Forces contended that the maximum number of Negroes which it could use was 20,739 in the Air Corps and 23,468 in its services, a total of 44207.11 If the Air Forces allotment were reduced, ground units would then have to absorb the excess 33,385 Negroes in addition to the 260,158 already allotted them. Ground forces could do so only if two white divisions in the troop basis were converted to Negro or if two white divisions plus several non-divisional units were deleted and unneeded Negro separate rifle battalions were substituted. To prevent this, G-3 recommended that the Air Forces be required to accept its 53,299 Negroes out of the 1 942 increase in the Army. The Chief of Staff approved, adding the stipulation that air base defense units "for the number of air bases found necessary" be organized and that Negro personnel be used for this purpose as required.12
Initially 23,000 Negroes were allotted to airdrome defense units, as the air base security battalions were originally called. While all of the original units were Negro, the Chief of Staff's decision required that provision be made for the future use of similar white units. Nevertheless, except for a few white units formed for almost immediate overseas use in specific areas, most units activated were Negro.

The air base security battalions were designed to protect air bases against riots, parachute attacks, and air raids. They were to be equipped with rifles, machine guns, and 37-mm. (and possibly 75-mm.) guns.13 Though there was some confusion in the minds of commanders and civilian officials on the point, these battalions were in addition to and not substitutes for military police, guard squadrons, and aviation squadrons. Army Ground Forces was given jurisdiction over the activation and training of these units. Upon completion of training, the battalions were to pass to Army Air Forces control. From the beginning the personnel allotted to the units counted toward the Air Forces quota of Negro troops.14
The air base security battalions were the last of the special units employed to help absorb the Air Forces quota of Negro enlisted men. The original 1942 program called for a total of 67 air base security battalions, 57 of them to be Negro. The program was later expanded to a total of 103 units. Through 1943, 296 were planned, 261 of which were to be Negro. Not all of these were activated. Future Air Forces expansion into new types of units for Negroes took place in the Arms and Services with the Air Forces and in the combat and related units of the Air Corps.
Flying Units
The question of Air Corps flying units for Negroes was an old one.15 In the fall of 1940, after a public announcement in September that Negro troops were being developed for "the aviation service," the Chief of Staff called upon G-3 to consider and make recommendations for the training of Negro aviation mechanics with the ultimate objective of establishing a Negro combat unit.16 For weeks, Air Corps agencies found flaws in all suggestions made for beginning this training. The Chicago School of Aeronautics, suggested by G-3, gave flying training but not mechanic training and therefore could not be used. The Aeronautical University of Chicago gave mechanic training, but its students were housed in a Y.M.C.A., "which makes it manifestly impossible to assign colored students under the existing arrangement." 17 Civilian schools could be made to take Negro students but, because of locations, housing, messing arrangements, and concurrent civilian and military classes, "such assignment would be unjustified without their consent." The Air Training and Operations Division felt, therefore, that Negro mechanic trainees should be assigned to the Air Corps Technical School at Chanute Field where they and the facilities they were to use would be completely under military control. The Air Plans Division on the other hand was certain that if this assignment was made "disturbances and possibly riots will probably ensue both at Chanute Field and the nearby communities." As an alternative it proposed Tuskegee Institute in Alabama as the place to initiate such a

course. "If colored units are to be formed," the Air Plans Division stated, "colored schools should be provided for their training [and] separate schools for colored pilot training likewise should be organized." 18 The Training and Operations Division, in view of the small number of Negroes expected and in view of the lack of qualified instructors, supervisors, and equipment, held out for Chanute Field as "the best expedient." 19
At this point of threatened impasse General Arnold, Chief of the Air Corps, asked, in a marginal note, "Gen. Johnson How should we go about training the colored mechanics for 1 squadron with the least trouble and effort?" 20 Within a week, the Air Corps prepared a plan. It recommended to G-3 that, "if it is imperative that negro tactical units be formed," instruction should be undertaken to provide men for one Corps and Division Observation Squadron, with training concentrated at "a recognized colored school, such as Tuskegee" in order to eliminate the possibility of racial difficulties which might occur elsewhere. "Although a definite decision may have been reached at this time to organize colored units in the Air Corps," the memorandum continued, "no country in the world has been able to organize a satisfactory air unit with colored personnel." Three years, the Air Corps remonstrated, would be necessary to train a crew chief, two more years for a hangar chief, and a total of ten years for a line chief.21 That a Negro combat unit could be formed in time to be of value to the national defense at all was doubted. The day after it received this memorandum G-3 called for the submission of a plan to train a Negro single engine pursuit unit.22
In December 1940, the Air Corps submitted its full plan, calling for the employment Of 429 enlisted men and 47 officers in a pursuit squadron, a base group detachment, weather and communications detachments, and services. White noncommissioned officers were to be used as inspectors, supervisors, and instructors for an indefinite period of time. Initial training of technical and administrative officers and enlisted men was to be given at Chanute Field. Negro officers, when qualified, would replace white officers in the squadron and in administrative positions on the squadron's base. Training was to proceed by stages through the basic, advanced, and unit phases. The elementary phase of flying training was to be omitted initially by utilization of Negro graduates of the CAA's civilian pilot training courses. 23
For a time, the Air Corps sought to acquire a field in the vicinity of Chicago for the training and eventual station of this unit.24 But the high cost of land, the presence of heavily traveled air lanes, and the location of available sites in areas subject to bad weather and fre-

quent flooding caused the Air Corps to look elsewhere. An area in the vicinity of Tuskegee, where Tuskegee Institute had been carrying on a CAA college Student flying training program and where the institute's president, Frederick D. Patterson, had been urging the location of additional training facilities, was finally settled upon as an airfield location for flight training. This plan was supplemented in the spring of 1941 by the authorization of a civil contract school for elementary flying training of Negro cadets. The school, operated under contract by Tuskegee Institute, was located near the town of Tuskegee.25
Under Secretary Patterson presented the Air Corps plan to judge Hastie for comment. Hastie had already conferred with General Arnold about the possibility of finding Negroes with training and experience in aircraft maintenance with a view to filling Air Corps needs in connection with the planned project.26 Now he could see no reason, "apart from a desire for racial separation," which justified the establishment of a separate station for the training of a Negro squadron. He saw many valid reasons in favor of training Negroes in existing Air Corps installations. They included maintenance of training standards, economical use of instructional personnel, and inculcation of morale. Hastie observed:
A squadron in the Air Corps does not function in such a way that it can be separated from other units, as can such an organization as a coast artillery regiment. ...Acquaintance, understanding and mutual respect established between blacks and whites at the three regular Air Corps Training centers can be the most important factor in bringing about harmonious racial attitudes essential to high morale. Indeed, I can think of no other way of accomplishing this objective. It cannot be overemphasized that the contacts which the Air Corps seem to fear cannot be avoided. Such contacts should be established normally in the training centers.27
Hastie predicted that "whatever the attitude of Tuskegee may be, there would unquestionably be very great public protest if the proposed plans should be adopted."
Such protests did come from the Negro press and public. They were to be typified in the epithet "Lonely Eagles," applied to the Tuskegee cadets. Chicago Negroes and their press were especially critical of the plan. General Arnold, somewhat baffled by this turn of events, remarked later that "these people are willing to take a chance on losing the whole Tuskegee opportunity in order to gamble on obtaining training on different circumstances which they claim will give them a more even break . . . . It looks as if it is a case of the whole or nothing that this group of people are waiting for." 28
In support of its plan, the Air Corps pointed out that Randolph, Maxwell, and Moffett Fields were already congested and that the Tuskegee site would provide a minimum of delay in getting the training of Negroes under way. The school would be under the direct supervision of the commanding general

of Maxwell Field, Alabama.29 Judge Hastie, while not concurring in the plan, withdrew his formal opposition on 8 January 1 941. The plan was approved by Under Secretary Patterson the same day.30
While the approval of this plan to extend the combat employment of Negroes to the Air Corps, at least on an experimental basis, did not materially increase Air Corps absorption of Negro selectees-the Negro units planned for Tuskegee were primarily made up of three-year enlistees- it did serve to increase the variety of types of units provided for Negroes.31 The 99th Pursuit Squadron was activated on 22 March 1941; it was followed by the 100th Squadron, activated on 19 February 1942. Three school squadrons, two air service squadrons, two fighter control squadrons, additional fighter and training squadrons, two group headquarters, and communications, weather, and service detachments necessary for these units and for the new airfield were all provided in 1942. Many of these units were not filled for months after activation. They did not, therefore, immediately affect the relative standing of the Air Corps in the employment of its share of Negro troops.
The decision to use only Negro attached units with the new squadrons made it necessary to constitute and activate several types of units of the ground arms and services not previously planned. These included chemical, ordnance, and medical detachments for the Tuskegee station, two signal aircraft warning companies originally intended for task force and fighter group assignment, and signal, quartermaster, medical, and ordnance units for the original squadrons and for the service group. The activation of these Air Forces types of ground units gave force to the Army's announced policy of establishing Negro units in all branches of the service.
At a press conference announcing the decision to form a Negro pursuit squadron, Under Secretary Patterson stated that it was of course part of the policy of the Army to have Negro units in each branch of the service. A newsman followed with the question, "That means a Negro tank corps?" Judge Patterson answered, "Everything." When pressed for plans on the "tank corps," the Under Secretary admitted that he did not know that the War Department had "gone down into that," but an aide reminded the press that although there were no plans for tank units, Negroes were already in the infantry.32 This could have been taken to mean that since the Infantry was one of the arms contributing units to the Armored Force, the question of the distribution of Negroes to that service was settled, but the statement was taken to mean that if the Air Corps had taken Negroes, the Armored Force would not be far behind.
Nondivisional Ground Combat Units
As a matter of fact, the Armored Force had already been instructed to make a provision for Negro units. The

opening the new Air Corps School for training Negro aviators at Tuskegee.
Armored Force, like the Air Corps, had contended that, except for experimental purposes, it could not afford during an emergency to take a proportionate share of Negroes. It was too busy with the problems of welding a unified force out of what was essentially a combination of arms to have time for the activation and training of Negro armored units. The Armored Force suggested that its representation be provided by using Negroes in lieu of white soldiers in service detachments at the Armored Force School and Replacement Center. These detachments, to include 574 and 403 men, respectively, would be used to provide chauffeurs, janitors, firemen, cooks, basics, and bandsmen.33
G-3 concluded that service detachments alone would not satisfy requirements. Though the Armored Force could argue that it was not, technically, a separate branch of the service but a combination of arms and services which were already taking proportions of Negroes, G-3 pointed out that the Armored Force functioned as a separate branch of the service and was accepted by the public as such. It therefore recommended that the Armored Force, in addition to the two service detachments, activate the 78th Light Tank Battalion at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, with Negro per-

Air Corps cadets standing in review on the field at Tuskegee.
sonnel.34 This battalion was to be activated on I June 1941, with 32 white enlisted instructors attached to compensate for the lack of a trained Negro cadre.35 Despite strong objections from the Armored Force,36 two additional tank battalions were scheduled. The 761st was activated on 1 April 1942 and the 784th Tank Battalion a year later on I April 1943. The three battalions, with the 78th redesignated as the 758th, formed the 5th Armored Group, activated on 23 May 1942.
In the artillery, the expansion of the number of Negro units proceeded in an orderly fashion, in accordance with theories developed during peacetime. On the basis of World War I reports, it was believed that Negroes could be employed profitably in supporting artillery units, especially in the heavier types where direct contact, with the enemy would be least likely. Two antiaircraft artillery regiments and one field artillery regiment were provided in the August 194o expansion.37 Two National Guard infantry regiments were subsequently converted and inducted into the federal service as artillery units, one as field

artillery and the other as antiaircraft artillery.38 One coast artillery, two more antiaircraft artillery, and three more field artillery regiments, and a field artillery brigade headquarters were activated in 1941.39 By the end of 1942 eight Negro antiaircraft artillery regiments, four barrage balloon battalions, six separate antiaircraft battalions, and two separate searchlight batteries had been activated.40 Two more searchlight batteries, which were never filled, were also constituted and partially activated. At the same time, in addition to the one field artillery brigade headquarters and division artillery, a total of seven field artillery regiments, with fourteen battalions (two 75-mm. gun, two 155-mm, gun, eight 155-mm. howitzer, and two 8-inch howitzer) had been activated.
When antitank battalions were re-designated tank destroyer battalions in December 1941, thus creating what was in all major respects a new combat arm, two Negro battalions for the new service were activated with cadres from two of the older field artillery regiments.41 In 1942, five more Negro tank destroyer battalions were activated, with six more scheduled for 1943. Of these latter six, four only were activated.
The Traditional Arms: Divisions
Although infantry and cavalry regiments were the traditional types of Negro combat units, expansion in these arms did not proceed smoothly. The general plans for expansion called for few separate infantry and cavalry regiments, and at the beginning of mobilization all-Negro divisions were looked upon with disfavor from almost every Army quarter.
As a unit for Negroes the separate regiment had a number of advantages over the division. The regiment was a self-contained unit, able to operate alone. It did not require organic supporting elements demanding personnel with knowledge, training, and abilities which might not be easily obtained in sufficient numbers from among available Negro enlisted men. Moreover, it did not require the extensive pyramiding of leadership and administrative abilities which divisions needed if they were to function efficiently. In the zone of interior, regiments could be used as defense or school troops. Separate Negro regiments might be attached or assigned to other units for operational purposes. After demonstrating the quality of their fighting ability, separate regiments might be combined into divisions if a theater commander felt that such a move was either desirable or advantageous. Separate Negro regiments might be employed as organic elements of divisions in which other regiments and units were white.

This last possibility went beyond the theory stage. The two Negro Regular cavalry regiments were assigned from time to time after World War I to the new cavalry divisions along with white regiments. The 9th and 10th Cavalry had so operated with white regiments in the past, both in Indian warfare and in Cuba, where during the Spanish-American War the 9th Cavalry had been brigaded with the 3d and 6th Cavalry to form the 1st Cavalry Brigade and the 10th Cavalry had been brigaded with the 1st Cavalry and the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry (Roosevelt's Rough Riders) to form the 2d Cavalry Brigade. Upon organization of the 1st Cavalry Division in 1921 the 10th Cavalry was assigned to its 1st Cavalry Brigade and remained so assigned for a little more than a year.42 In 1927 the 10th Cavalry, along with the 11th Cavalry, was assigned to the 5th Cavalry Brigade of the inactive 3d Cavalry Division.43 Under the Four Army Organization in 1933, the 9th Cavalry was similarly assigned to the 3d Cavalry Division, replacing the 11th Cavalry in the 5th Brigade, and the 24th Infantry was assigned to the 7th Brigade of the 4th Division along with the 29th Infantry.44 Although, except for occasional maneuvers such as those of the 1st Cavalry Division in Texas in the fall of 1929 in which the 10th Cavalry participated, the Negro regiments were not in close contact with the white regiments, their assignment to divisions with white troops was not without precedent.
In August 1940, when the cavalry requirements of the Protective Mobilization Plan were revised, the 9th and 10th Cavalry were designated for GHQ Reserve. The number of horse cavalry divisions was reduced from six to two. The 1st Cavalry Division was to be complete, while the 2d Cavalry Division was to have its horse cavalry regiments "and such other elements as available personnel and equipment permit." 45 Consideration was given at this time to including the two Negro regiments in the Regular Army cavalry divisions.46 At the beginning of mobilization, the 2d, 3d,11th, and 14th Cavalry were assigned to the 2d Cavalry Division. Of these, the 3d and 11th Cavalry were not available because of their designations for other missions. Approved plans for the placement of selective service men called for the concentration of the 2d, 14th, 9th, and 10th Cavalry at Fort Riley, Kansas, by January 1941. "Although the Tabs showing the utilization of selective service trainees do not definitely assign any particular regiments to the 2d Cavalry Division the only conclusion from them," G-3 stated in October, "is that the 2d, 14th, 9th and 10th are so assigned." 47
The Chief of Cavalry objected strenuously to this organization. "I submit,"

leaving West Riding Hall at Fort Riley to March 1941.
he wrote to the Chief of Staff on 20 September 1940, "that no consideration of convenience or expediency should govern the formation of the fighting division . . . ." More specifically, he stated:
It appears to me to be obvious that such a unit non-homogeneous-half white and half black, cannot be as effective as a homogeneous or all black or all white unit. There is not only a difference in color but there is a difference in emotional reactions. The concentration of a large body of troops in one place, approximately half white and half black, involves the risk of bitter rivalries and racial clashes. I consider this to be an unwise improvisation.
The Chief of Cavalry opposed not only the composition of the new division but also its proposed location. He felt that an all-white 2d Cavalry Division should be located on the southern border, at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, at Deming, New Mexico, or at Fort Bliss, Texas, leaving the Negro regiments at Fort Riley, Kansas; otherwise, the division should stay at Fort Riley, with the Negro regiments going to Fort Huachuca or to Fort Meade, South Dakota. Nevertheless, his chief objection was to the mixed division. "In making a decision on this matter," he concluded,

"fighting efficiency should be considered the controlling factor." 48
Despite the objections of the Chief of Cavalry, the 2d Cavalry Division was announced for organization "early in 1941" at Fort Riley. Its 3d Cavalry Brigade was to contain the white 2d and 14th Cavalry and its 4th Cavalry Brigade the Negro 9th and 10th Cavalry.49 According to plan, the activation of other division elements was deferred. Brigade headquarters troops and weapons troops were provided in February 1941 , but the division headquarters and headquarters troop was not activated until 1 April 1941.50 The early organization and training of the division were therefore considerably hampered. Not until November 1941 were all its remaining inactive units authorized.51 All of its organic units, except the Negro brigade and the truck unit of the quartermaster squadron, were activated with white troops. Aside from its Negro brigade, which made it, in the language of the Chief of Staff, "unique" among the divisions,52 the 2d Cavalry Division as constituted in 1941 played no special part in the provision of units for the placement of Negro troops, for it was able to absorb only those selectees necessary to fill the 9th and 10th Cavalry.
In the spring of 1942, when the War Department decided to increase the numbers of armored and motorized divisions, Army Ground Forces recommended that one of the new divisions be provided by conversion of the 2d Cavalry Division, less its Negro 4th Cavalry Brigade, to an armored division. This recommendation was approved, with the exception that the 2d Cavalry Division was retained as a cavalry division with only its 4th Cavalry Brigade remaining active while its white elements were relieved and reassigned to the new 9th Armored Division.53
Retention of the 2d Cavalry Division provided for the future absorption of larger numbers of Negro selectees. Moreover, there was always the possibility that need might arise for a trained horse cavalry division. "Contrary to general opinion," Brig. Gen. Terry Allen, then commander of the 2d Cavalry Division, had written to General Marshall, "I feel that the cavalry still has a distinct role in modern warfare, when given proper missions and when properly trained and led." 54 It was not considered politically expedient to reduce the cavalry arm to one division only, nor was it considered good public relations to eliminate the two Regular Negro regiments. This combination of factors provided a new, all-Negro 2d Cavalry Division, ready to receive excess Negro

selectees should it be needed for this purpose.55 In November the War Department directed that new units constituted for refilling the division be ready for activation on 25 February 1943.56 On this date, the 2d Cavalry Division, the first division in World War II to have Negro components, became the third with all Negro enlisted men, for in the meantime two Negro infantry divisions had been organized.
While the 2d Cavalry Division was the only unit of its size actually activated with Negro and white regiments, consideration had also been given to the formation of an infantry division with a combination of Negro and white troops. The Chief of Staff, in the fall of 1940, had "in mind, in case we are forced to organize a colored division," taking the two infantry regiments scheduled for location at Fort Huachuca, and adding a third Negro infantry regiment, the Negro medium artillery regiment (349th Field Artillery) , and white light artillery to form a division.57 The G-3 Division, asked for comment, replied that it did not "look with favor on the mixing of colored and white troops in a unit (white light artillery units in the colored Infantry Division) if there is any way of avoiding it, especially where the preponderance of troops in the unit are colored." 58 There is no evidence that subsequent experience with the 2d Cavalry Division served to alter either point of view.
Shortly before activation of the first Negro infantry division, the 93d, in the spring of 1 942, the Chief of Staff's office noted an increasing volume of mail asking for the organization of a volunteer mixed Negro and white division.59 Among those urging the formation of a mixed division were a number of widely known civilians, including Dorothy Canfield Fisher, the novelist; Samuel McCrea Cavert, General Secretary of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America; Msgr. John A. Ryan, Director of the National Catholic Welfare Association's Department of Social Action; and Mary E. Woolley, former president of Mt. Holyoke College.60 Letters from organizations such as the NAACP and The Council Against Intolerance, from their members, and from college professors and students also came into the War Department in large numbers. Many of the letters spoke of the symbolic importance that such a unit would have on both the national and the international scene as an earnest of national faith in democracy and as an answer to Japanese propaganda that the war was a color-based conflict.
In answering these letters, the War Department pointed out that the volunteer system was "an ineffective and dangerous" method of raising combat units and that the use of the volunteer system

would interfere with the "scientific and orderly selective processes" used by the Army. "Although, as you point out," Mrs. Fisher was told, "it would be an encouraging gesture towards certain minorities, the urgency of the present military situation necessitates our using tested and proved methods of procedure, and using them with all haste. It prohibits our initiating experiments except where they will lead to the fulfillment of pressing military needs." 61
Despite the volume of requests for a volunteer mixed division-and such requests continued to reach the War Department periodically until near the end of the war-when Negro divisions were finally decided upon, the motivating influence for their formation was more the need for additional organizations to take care of the increasing number of Negroes available to the Army than either the military or the public pressures involved. After Pearl Harbor, when it was obvious that the Army would increase its total size ever more rapidly-bringing with it more and more Negroes-the advantages of forming all-Negro divisions gained in attractiveness and support. Divisions could absorb 15,000 and more men each. With their elements and supporting units, furthermore, they afforded representation in almost every arm and service. They provided, as well, an answer to requests for a "division" without committing the Army on the volunteer mixed unit question or on any of the possible combinations of white and Negro units which had been suggested during the period of planning.
By the end of 1941, as the 1942 Troop Basis took shape, it appeared that the Army of 3,600,000 men scheduled for 1942 would have a total of 71 divisions, 32 of them new infantry divisions and 4 of them new armored divisions. The Army would have to take 177,000 new Negroes during the year as a proportionate share of its increased strength. Even if the Air Forces and the ground arms and services took the maximum number of Negroes in the non-divisional units provided, a considerable excess would still remain. If all types of units were to have Negro representation, it was argued, divisions should be included. Infantry divisions, it was pointed out, would not have to be built up from scratch, for separate Negro infantry regiments already existed. They could be used to give divisions a leaven of experience. The peacetime 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments, the new 366th, 367th, and 368th Regular regiments, and the 372d National Guard Regiment were available for this purpose. The 366th Infantry, activated on 10 February 1941; the 372d, inducted 10 March 1941; the 368th, activated 1 March 1941; and the 367th, activated on 25 March 1941, all had had considerable training by the end of 1941.
During the period of discussion of the Troop Basis for 1942, estimates of the total number of divisions needed if the Army should be called upon for offensive operations reached 200.62 That four of these (plus half a cavalry division) should be Negro did not at the time appear to be excessive since, on a proportionate basis, twenty divisions would have been Negro. The first of the Negro divisions, the 93d, was planned for activation in the spring of 1942. It

would utilize two of the existing infantry regiments, the 25th and the 368th, as a nucleus and expand to full size. If the Army Air Forces took its full quota and all services and separate units of the arms took the maximum practicable number of Negroes, "three additional colored divisions are the minimum essential to provide for the disposition of approximately i77,000 additional Negroes that will enter the Army . . . ," G-3 determined. The Troop Basis for 1942 therefore scheduled four Negro infantry divisions.63
But snags developed in this program. G-1 pointed out that if too many Negroes entered the Army in the early months of 1942 they would have to be placed in camps where recreational facilities were not available. G-4 could make no commitment on the dates when suitable stations would be available for large numbers of Negroes. Although divisions were large units which, with overstrength, could absorb large numbers of Negroes, the problem of locations and housing, not to mention training, was vastly more complicated for them than for non-divisional units. The activation dates of the three additional divisions could be placed near the end of the calendar year, but since they were to furnish cadres to each other in turn it would be next to impossible to activate them all at nearly the same time. It was decided to limit the activations of Negro divisions in 1942 to two and carry the additional two divisions into 1943. Thus, the 93d Division could provide the cadre for the 92d Division in October 1942; the 92d could cadre another division in April 1943 and this new division could provide a cadre for the fourth Negro infantry division in August 1943.64 The 93d and 92d Divisions were activated as scheduled, but the deferment of the other two of the 1942 Negro divisions left 29,000 Negroes to be placed in smaller units during the calendar year.
The decision to retain the 2d Cavalry Division, whose inactive elements were to be provided by early 1943, helped alleviate the pressure for the maintenance of a balance among combat units. Although it was clear that they would be activated only as a last resort, the additional Negro infantry divisions remained in the projected troop basis for 1943 for the same reason as well as to absorb projected increases of Ground Forces Negro strength should they be needed for this purpose.
Service Units
The demand for service units became an ever increasing one in the expanding Army. The provision of service units for Negroes, especially in the Corps of Engineers and Quartermaster Corps, was originally accompanied by little debate, for it was generally agreed that Negro troops could be employed to advantage in such units. By April 1942, 42 percent of all engineer and 34 percent of all quartermaster units were Negro. Unlike those of some other arms and services these engineer and quartermaster units, even when created to absorb men made available by other branches' canceled allotments, were usually activated to fill specific military needs.
Although only one Negro engineer

general service regiment was provided in the 1940 PMP, from the formation of the 41st Regiment in August 1940 to the end of 1942 twenty-seven engineer general service regiments were activated with Negro enlisted men. An equal number was to be added in later years. One engineer aviation regiment and nineteen battalions were activated by the end of 1942, with a larger number following in succeeding years. Separate engineer battalions, engineer water supply battalions and companies, and dump truck and aviation engineer companies accounted for the majority of the remaining engineer units activated with Negroes in the period 1940-42.
Quartermaster truck and service units were always in demand in the expanding Army. Later, as more and more troops were shipped to overseas theaters, requests for these units were generally greater than the number and the shipping space available. The many types of Negro quartermaster units activated between 1940 and the end of 1942 included truck, service, car, railhead, bakery, salvage repair, salvage collecting, laundry, fumigation and bath, gas supply, sterilization, and pack units, ranging in size from regiments to detachments. Before the war was over, there were more than 1,600 Negro quartermaster companies, plus headquarters, bakery, laundry, and driver detachments, separate platoons, and provisional units of various types and sizes. During the same period, the Quartermaster Corps, before the establishment of a separate Transportation Corps, organized Negro port battalions and companies. Subsequently, the Transportation Corps itself organized a considerable number of port and amphibian truck companies for employment at home and overseas.
In the rapid expansion of its Negro units, the Quartermaster Corps could not avoid problems common to other branches of the Army. As early as August 1941 the personnel requirements of Negro quartermaster units began to exceed the current supply of trainees graduating from quartermaster replacement training centers. To fill high priority quartermaster units scheduled for the autumn of 1941, certain quartermaster units were furnished men from the engineer, field artillery, coast artillery, infantry, and cavalry replacement training centers. Each of these centers had a surplus of Negro trainees who, as overstrength-lacking units for assignment would otherwise present housing and assignment difficulties for their branches. Filling high priority quartermaster units with this surplus helped solve the problem of placing these men.65
A third branch, the Chemical Warfare Service, continued to provide units for more than its proportionate share of Negro troops from the activation of the 1st Chemical Decontamination Company onward. It was generally felt that Negroes could serve well in chemical units. Additional decontamination companies were provided. Negroes were also placed in smoke generator companies; chemical maintenance companies, aviation; chemical depot companies, aviation; and chemical platoons, airdrome. One chemical service, one chemical motorized, and one chemical processing company were activated in 1942. The

majority of the new chemical units for Negroes were smoke generator companies, many of them added to the troop basis during 1942 to fill expected needs of offensive operations being planned in that year. A number of these units were to be activated, trained, and initially used by defense commands .66
The Medical Department, as already noted, experienced considerable difficulty in providing units for its share of Negro selectees. The whole question of medical units, as distinct from medical detachments with units of other arms and services, was inextricably interwoven with that of the utilization of Negro physicians, dentists, and nurses, which in turn was part of the larger question of the use of Negro officers in general. Initially, Negro selectees designated for the Medical Department could be placed in the medical detachments of Negro regiments and battalions. As long as these were understrength, the question of the Medical Department's increasing its proportion of Negro selectees was primarily an academic one. But this situation, in which vacancies exceeded the available number of men, did not last long.
In the late summer and fall of 1940, the Medical Department made over-all plans for the employment of its share of Negro troops. These plans included provisions for both officers and enlisted men. The major feature affecting the provision of units for Negro troops was the proposal for a separate Negro unit which became the medical sanitary company of World War II. Originally called "medical companies, separate, colored," by The Surgeon General's Office, these companies were later termed sanitary companies, in conformance with the policy that no units were to be designated by race and that no special tables of organization were to be made for Negro troops which did not apply to white troops as well.67
The sanitary companies were originally intended to provide ward and professional services for hospitals having one hundred or more Negro patients, cared for in separate wards. After it was determined that such services would be administratively uneconomical, the units were thought of as hospital service units, containing men who could replace the approximately 180 white enlisted men normally used as chauffeurs, cooks, cooks' helpers, orderlies, and basics in a general hospital. The units would be assigned or attached to general hospitals. They would be housed, messed, and administered separately, under the command of Negro officers. Where Negro professional personnel were assigned to a hospital, these companies would provide messing and other facilities for them.
As they actually developed, the medical sanitary companies became primarily labor units employed in addition to the general hospital personnel.68 They became general service units which might be used for any duty considered appropriate by the commander of the unit or

station to which they were assigned. While the companies were to be assigned to all hospitals having l,000 or more beds, lack of funds for the construction of the necessary additional housing delayed the activation of the sanitary companies until the need for new Negro units to absorb the Medical Department's quota became more pressing.69
Only two medical sanitary companies were activated in 1941. These two were activated "because of pressure on G-1 to put colored medical personnel on duty" and not, as in the case of certain other units, primarily for the purpose of absorbing surplus Negro selectees.70 Fifty-four were added during 1942. A larger number was planned for 1943, but not all of the units scheduled were activated. The 1943 companies were available for activation whenever monthly Army Service Forces Negro quotas could not be absorbed elsewhere.71 Thirty companies were eventually activated in 1943 and one in 1944. Many of the 1943 companies were inactivated or disbanded in the fall of 1943 or in 1944 when more vitally needed service units were being filled for immediate overseas use.
Aside from station hospitals at Tuskegee and at Fort Huachuca, four field hospitals, and scattered veterinary, ambulance, and administrative units, medical sanitary companies remained the major medical units provided for Negroes.
Negro military police units were not provided until after local experiments with Negro military police detachments showed that their use in areas with large Negro troop populations paid dividends in better order, better relations between troops and the military police, and better relations with civilians in those communities which had learned to look upon Negro military policemen as something less than a threat to local customs. Most of these units were small detachments of men detailed to military police duty from station complements. Among them there was little uniformity in procedure, organization, or training. Some posts used Negro military police on special duty assignments; others used them on a full-time basis. Until the establishment of the Corps of Military Police on 26 September 1941, these units were generally under the direct control of post and service commanders.
The directive establishing the new Corps of Military Police required responsible commanders to report the designation, station, and strength, by race, of existing units.72 There were twenty-two of these detachments of Negro military police on 30 June 1942, ranging in size from two men at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to sixty-five at Camp San Luis Obispo, California.73 Ten Negro military police battalions (zone of interior) and three companies were activated in August 1942. Two more battalions were scheduled, but the War Department decided not to activate any more Negro units of this type and they therefore received white personnel. Two Negro prisoner of war escort com-

panies were included in the 1942 Troop Basis but, on the request of the Provost Marshal General, they too were activated with white personnel, with G-3 stipulating that future plans provide for the use of Negroes in this duty.74
The Ordnance Department provided ammunition companies and almost no others for the receipt of Negroes. Aviation ordnance depot and aviation ordnance supply and maintenance companies were provided in the Army Air Forces; several medium automotive maintenance companies in the Army Ground Forces were activated with Negro enlisted men.
Signal Corps units for the receipt of an increased proportion of Negro enlisted men were confined to construction and to Air Forces types of signal units. One construction company was activated in May 1941 and saw early duty in Panama. Except for three construction companies, and three construction battalions, all other Negro signal units activated in 1942 were Air Forces units. These included eleven construction battalions, two aircraft warning companies, and one service group signal company. The Signal Corps remained below its 

proportionate share of Negro troops throughout the war.
Miscellaneous Units and Minor Problems
A number of miscellaneous units were provided for Negro troops in 1940-42. Chief among these were bands, replacement companies, postal units, service command units (SCU's) at posts and at civilian educational institutions, and a special service company. Various provisional units, training units, school detachments, and overhead supply detachments were also utilized for the placement of Negro troops. Many of these units, such as bands and replacement companies, were needed to service Negro trainees.
Occasionally, specific requests for the activation of Negro units were made by commanders who needed additional troops for tasks connected with the operation of their posts. Such a request came from Fort Knox in 1942. An engineer separate battalion was needed there to construct roads, training facilities, and firing aids in an expanded range and training area. The Chief of Engineers, believing that all units should be trained for future theater of operations use, objected to the activation of units for full-time employment on local tasks. This unit was therefore activated with the stipulation that it be trained in its usual duties by rotating its companies between training and necessary work and that it "not be used solely for labor while at Fort Knox." 75
The commander at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, similarly asked for authority to advance the activation date for a medical sanitary company, ostensibly because a First Army medical inspector had indicated that it was desirable to start training this type of unit as soon as possible. When First Army asked for further reasons for advancing the activation date for the unit, it developed that the post commander expected that the organization could be used to good advantage in mosquito control and general camp sanitation without interfering with its training.76
Truck regiments, provisional and permanent, for use at service schools, and school detachments to replace civilians, such as janitors and table waiters for instructors' and student officers' living quarters and messes, accounted for a number of units provided for Negro troops. The Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, explained its need for additional Negro enlisted men in its school detachment:
Until recently, civilian colored kitchen police and table waiters were available in sufficient numbers to maintain officer and instructor messes without difficulty. Lately, we have not been able to employ the required number, since a large percentage of this labor has been drafted. Other eligible men who would be desirable in the messes are now employed elsewhere at more attractive wages and better working hours. The problem of securing adequate kitchen police and table waiters is becoming more acute.77
The Parachute School at Fort Benning wanted a Negro service company to

31 DECEMBER 1942
Type of Service White Negro Percentage of All Negroes in Each Type of Service Percentage of All Men in Army
Whites Negroes
Army total 4,532,117 467,883 10.3 100.0 100.0
Combat units 1,815,094 92,772 4.8 40.0 19.7
Service units 616,851 161,707 20.7 13.6 34.5
AAF and ASWAAF 1,190,363 109,637 8.4 26.4 23.5
Overhead a 363,820 65,880 15.3 8.0 14.1
RTC's 238,500 27,500 10.3 5.3 5.9
OCS 72,200 800 1.1 1.5 0.2
Unassigned 235,289 9,587 3.9 5.2 2.1
            a Includes replacement depots and hospitals.
            Source: Extended from Tab B, Memo, G-3 for CG's AGF
relieve its own students of such duties as kitchen police, guarding installations, and policing training areas, hangars, and administrative buildings.78 Other units were formed for demonstration purposes at certain schools. Occasionally, needed units were activated overseas from experienced units already in the theater, fillers being provided from the mainland.79
The provision of certain types of units for Negroes sometimes ran counter to local civilian customs and attitudes toward the types of tasks for which Negroes should be trained and employed. The Alabama State Firemen's Association objected to the employment of Negro soldiers in the fire department at Fort McClellan. The association wanted these traditionally "white" jobs kept for white men.80 California longshoremen's unions objected to the formation of Negro port battalions and stated: "This move can only be interpreted by us as being directed against union labor." 81 Many areas objected to the use of Negro guard and air base security battalions, on the ground that they violated local mores. The War Depart-

ment's assurance that these units were being formed for military needs only and that their primary use, after the completion of training, would be outside of the United States, brought an end to this type of protest.
By the end of 1942, despite difficulties in carrying out the plan, the War Department had made tremendous progress toward achieving the goal of proportionate distribution. At that time every arm and service had Negro units with the exception of the Finance Department, and even Finance had Negroes on individual assignment with other units. But the basic distribution problem had not been solved, for the proportions of Negroes assigned to the arms as compared with those assigned to the services did not match the ratios of white troops so assigned. (Table 2)
Proportionate distribution, which on paper and at first glance appeared to be an eminently fair procedure for the provision of Negro units, both from the points of view of the branches and of Negroes, had revealed serious disadvantages by the end of 1942. Block assignment of Negroes according to the numbers which the Army had to take in monthly induction quotas; allowing some of the branches to immobilize large numbers of men who required housing, supplies, and officers although their ultimate usefulness was doubtful; distributing men on the basis of proportionate quotas rather than according to the needs of the service and the abilities of the men -the wisdom of continuing these policies among others came into question. The War Department finally came to realize that the continued provision of units on the basis of numerical proportions involved more and more minor problems which showed every sign of growing into major ones.


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