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The blood is always red

“At the most forward edge of Love Company was the Second Platoon, commanded by Lieutenant Gene Takahashi of Cleveland, Ohio. Takahashi—Tak, not Gene, to his men— had, as a Japanese-American, spent part of his World War II boyhood in an internment camp in California. Impressed by the exploits of the famed, highly-decorated all-Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Europe—many of whom had come out of the internment camps—and, like them, eager to prove his devotion to his country, he had in 1945 at seventeen volunteered for the United States Army. The only rule given him by his parents when he asked their permission was that he was to do nothing that might disgrace the Takahashi name. He was an unusual officer in an unusual unit—a Japanese-American commanding a platoon of all-black troops. For though the Army was technically desegregated, there were still some all-black units in the early months of the Korean War. The performance of all-black units at that moment, as the Army was changing so quickly, was often uneven, based on who their officers were, whether they were white, and whether they tried to hardass their troops. Takahashi thought his troops were good men and good soldiers. A few were resistant to direct orders, and tone was always important, but if anything, commanding them made him aware of the nuances involved, a sense on occasion that some orders needed to be explained, and he was sure that this had made him a better officer.” – David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter

Published inDavid HalberstamPolitics & LawThe Korean War

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