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Glenn Allen Knoblock

Korean and Vietnam War veteran and Medal of Honor winner, was born in Winnboro, South Carolina, the son of Frizell Anderson, a carpenter, and Blanche Rabb Anderson, a homemaker. Webster's parents had seven children, daughters Frances, Alberta, Marjorie, and Marie, and sons Frizell Jr., Webster, Billy, and Larry.

In 1953, Anderson was drafted by the Army to serve in the Korean War. Although racism suffused the armed forces despite President Harry Truman's executive order to integrate the military, Anderson's initial Army experiences were largely positive. He would later tell his son Davis that joining the Army was “a good thing for him.” He believed that his white commanding officers as much as his fellow soldiers “helped pave the way” for his military career (Anderson). Webster enjoyed a happy private life too, marrying Ida Davis in 1959 In their ...

Article

Jeffery Othele Mahan

soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Manuel Caldera and Beulah Baker. After the deaths of his parents, Vernon and his sisters, Irma and Katherine, were raised by their maternal grandparents, Joseph Samuel Baker, a retired brakeman for the Union Pacific Railroad, and Dora Lucas. Although his grandparents never officially adopted him, Vernon took the surname Baker and did not know his original surname until later in life. Baker was educated at various elementary and secondary schools, including two years at Father Flanagan's Boys Home in Omaha, Nebraska. Baker finally earned his high school diploma at Clarinda, Iowa, in 1939.

After graduation, Baker returned to Cheyenne, where he found work at the army depot at night doing maintenance, repair, and cleaning jobs. Baker was rejected on his first attempt to join the army. Finally in June 1942 he enlisted and was ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

World War II sailor and Silver Star Medal recipient, was born in Hanna, Oklahoma, the son of Mary Cato. Little recorded information exists on his father. He later graduated from Lincoln High School in Vernon, Oklahoma, where he was a three sport athlete. Upon graduating from school in 1942, Cato worked as a mechanic for a local construction company. His brothers Sachan and Smith were already serving in the army and training as paratroopers when he was drafted for military service in 1943.

After receiving his draft notice, Willmer Cato was inducted into the U.S. Navy in June 1943 at Oklahoma City Oklahoma and subsequently completed his initial recruit training likely at Bainbridge Maryland Like the vast majority of African American men that served in the navy under combat conditions during World War II Cato was assigned to serve in the Steward s Branch This ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

Korean War veteran and Congressional Medal of Honor winner, was born in Eastgulf, Raleigh County, West Virginia, the son of Van Charlton and Clara Thompson. In 1944, at the age of fifteen, Cornelius, called “Connie” by his friends, moved with his family to New York, taking up residence in the Bronx. There he graduated from Monroe High School in 1946. Charlton soon thereafter joined the U.S. Army, serving in an engineering outfit and stationed in Germany as part of the post–World War II occupation forces. Deciding to make a career for himself in the army, Charlton reenlisted in 1950 and was sent overseas to serve in the Korean War.

Charlton s service in the Korean War serves to highlight the black experience in this often forgotten conflict whose combatants seldom receive their proper due The valuable service of black soldiers and sailors in World War II as ...

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John Herschel Barnhill

Black Seminole scout, was born either in Arkansas or in Indian territory west of Arkansas. Nothing is known of his parents or childhood. Sixteen Native Americans won the Medal of Honor for their service in the Indian Wars, as the conflicts between indigenous Native Americans and European settlers and their descendents were known. Four of them, including Factor, a private, were Seminole-Negro Indian Scouts, descendants of the slaves who had found refuge with the Seminoles of Florida during the Seminole Wars of 1817 and 1836 and later migrated to Nacimiento, Mexico, in 1850.

When the Seminoles moved to Texas in 1857 the Black Seminoles remained in Mexico rather than risk being enslaved They adapted their survival skills to the new region and became invaluable scouts serving as militia for Mexico against the Comanche and Lipan Apaches Soon though they were sought after by the segregated U S Army ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

Korean War and Vietnam War soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the son of Trenton and Mary Joel. The couple lived on the east side (Ward three) of Winston-Salem and had five children. Trenton Joel supported his family by working as a janitor in a theater. Later on in the 1930s, Lawrence Joel, “Larry” to family and friends, was raised by foster parents Clayton and Ethel Samuels after his parents separated due to the financial difficulties experienced during the Great Depression. Lawrence Joel attended Atkins High School in Winston-Salem but dropped out in 1945, his senior year, and soon joined the Merchant Marine, serving for one year.

Lawrence Joel enlisted in the U.S. Army in March 1946 at New York City and subsequently began a military career that would last nearly twenty-five years. He left the service in 1949 at ...

Article

George Derek Musgrove

U.S. congressman, was born Parren James Mitchell, the ninth child of Clarence Maurice Mitchell, a waiter, and Elsie Davis in Baltimore, Maryland. The Mitchells lived in a cramped, two-story row house on one of the “alley” streets of Old West Baltimore, and the family could be considered poor. Parren attended segregated Garnet Elementary School, Booker T. Washington Junior High School, and Frederick Douglass High School, from which he graduated in 1940. In 1942 he joined the army and was immediately shipped overseas where he served in the Ninety-Second Infantry Division as a commissioned officer and company commander. Mitchell was awarded the Purple Heart in 1944 after being wounded during fighting in Italy.

After being honorably discharged from the army in 1946, Mitchell returned to Baltimore to attend Morgan State College. There he earned a BA in Sociology and graduated with honors in 1950 Immediately ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

Korean and VietnamWar army officer and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Claremont, West Virginia, the son of West Virginia natives Clyde Rogers Sr. and his wife Helen. While Charles Rogers's father supported his family by working as a coal miner, his son would have the opportunity to rise further. After graduating from high school, Rogers attended West Virginia State College, earning a B.A. in Mathematics. Interestingly, this hard working and practical young man also had a spiritual side and, despite his studies, had a desire to be a minister. However, his ministering career was soon put on hold and would not become a reality until years later after his retirement from the army.

While attending college Charles Rogers was a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps ROTC and upon graduating he subsequently gained an officer s commission when he joined the army at Institute West ...