January 22nd, 2004, 12:36 PM
WI during 1941, at the start of the US entry into WWII, a regt of black soldiers had been stationed in the Philippines, such as the 9th or 10th Cav ? In WWI, 1 of these Buffalo soldier outfits- the 10th IIRC- had been stationed at Fort Stotsenberg in the Philippines, well away from the fighting on the Western Front. AFAIK, OTOH, no African-American units, combat or otherwise, were stationed in the Philippines when the Japs attacked- regardless of the 1943 BATAAN movie which poortrayed a token black soldier from a combat engineer outfit. IIRC there would've been only a few individual blacks who served as civilian servants to white officers stationed in the Philippines. But how much of a difference to US race relations and the progress of the war would have been made had a regt or 2 of Buffalo soldiers been present in Dec 1941 as part of MacArthur's peacetime army in Manila ? Would the presence of black soldiers at the start of the war, fighting side-by-side with their white, Filipino, Hispanic and native American comrades at Bataan and Corregidor, have created an earlier and more positive impression in the US national psyche of the capability of African-Americans as combat troops, and yet again undermined the stereotype of blacks as unstable and breaking under fire ? Would the fighting and dying of the Buffalo soldiers against overwhelming odds (the 9th and 10th Cav IMHO would've fought much like the 26th Cav had they been in the Philippines at the outset), together with their suffering the same intense privations on the Bataan Death March and following on from the example of Dorie Miller opening fire on attacking Jap planes at Pearl Harbour, have possibly resulted in the US armed forces being desegregated far earlier than OTL, and allowed to see combat on a wider scale instead of OTL being largely relegated to menial noncombat roles ? What impact would an earlier acceptance of black combat personnel have had on civil rights in the US during WWII and after ?