What comes to mind when you hear the term ‘war hero?’
Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan
? George C. Scott in Patton
? How about Denzel Washington in Glory
If you said the first two but skipped Denzel, you’re not alone. The typical war hero is general thought of in rather Caucasian terms. However, the reality is that African-American, Asian-American and Hispanics have all made significant contributions to the U.S. Army in both war and peacetime.
African-American Members of the U.S. Army
From the Civil War through the two World Wars and into modern conflicts, African-Americans have served as valued members of the U.S. Army. The first African-American General in the Army as well as in the U.S. Armed Forces was an individual who first enlisted during the 1898 War with Spain. That person, Benjamin Oliver Davis Sr., went on to serve admirably for half a century and was promoted to the rank of General during World War II.
Unfortunately, many African-American military accomplishments were overlooked during their time of service. For example, seven members of the Army were selected for World War II Medal of Honor citations in 1997 after it was determined that there was a racial disparity in the way medals were distributed during the war.
Asian-American World War II Involvement
Like African-Americans, service members of Asian heritage have also served our country bravely. Most notably, the 100th Battalion and 442d Regimental Combat Team fought admirably in the African and European Theatres during World War II. Comprised of individuals of Japanese ancestry, the team received multiple Presidential Unit Citations and is considered one of the most decorated units from World War II.
In addition to those of Japanese descent, World War II also saw a number of Chinese-Americans and Native Hawaiians serving in the military. Asian-Americans have continued to be decorated soldiers throughout subsequent conflicts including those in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hispanic Involvement in the U.S. Army
Hispanic-Americans have also played a significant role in the U.S. Army, particularly in the Korean conflict. The 65th Infantry Regiment from Puerto Rico played an essential role in evacuating overrun American and British units from the port of Hungnam as well as defending the South Korean capital of Seoul. Known as the Borinqueneers, the regiment was honored with two Korean Presidential Unit Citations, the Presidential and Meritorious Unite Commendations and the Greek Gold Medal for Bravery.
Today, Hispanic servicemen and women are an integral part of the U.S. Army and other Armed Forces branches. As those who went before them, they fight bravely to advance the ideals of freedom and democracy throughout the world.
Be a part of a rich tradition of excellence. Join the military today and find yourself in the history books tomorrow. Visit ArmedServicesJobs
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Maryalene LaPonsie is an accomplished writer who has extensive experience reporting on education, career advancement and workforce development topics. She specializes in sales and marketing consultation as well as general copywriting services.