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A TRIBUTE TO THE "BUFFALO DIVISION" OF WORLD WAR II WHO SUCCESSFULLY BATTLED JIM CROW RACISM & THE AXIS POWERS IN ITALY

Black Warriors - Ivan J. Houston,  With Gordon Cohn

The author of this book, Ivan J. Houston, a native of Los Angeles, CA, was a student at the University of California - Berkeley, when he was called to active duty in January 1944. He had hoped to become a combat pilot, but was instead routed to infantry training at Fort Benning, GA. Subsequently, Houston was assigned to the 3rd Battalion of the 370th Regimental Combat Team of the 92nd Division, with whom he would serve for the remainder of his service with the U.S. Army. The 92nd Division fought alongside the 442nd Infantry Regiment (Japanese American) as well as various British, South African, British Empire and Commonwealth forces, and the Brazilian Expeditionary Force (which was attached to the U.S. 5th Army).

This book serves as both a testimonial to Ivan Houston's Army service (he also sheds some light on his life postwar) and the combat actions and achievements of the 92nd Infantry Division during the Second World War. There are also a number of maps in "Black Warriors" that allows the reader to trace the movements made by the 92nd Division from its introduction to combat in August 1944 along the Arno River to the end of the war in May 1945.

One particular passage in the book that has personal resonance for me was the special ceremony on June 6th, 1945 in which one of the units of the 92nd Division was given "the honor of escorting the ashes of Christopher Columbus back to Genoa from where they had been hidden by the partisans during the war. The men of Company H of the 370th Infantry Regiment accompanied the ornamental urn, which rested on a horse-drawn carriage, into the Piazza della Vittoria, largest square in Genoa." Company H was commanded by my uncle, who was a captain at the time and "regarded as one of the regiment's outstanding leaders." I confess to being filled with pride as I read those words.