Served in the Ninth Cavalry Regiment from 1940 to 1944 Rank of PFC F Troop.
Trooper Fred D. Jones fresh out of high school in 1942 found a job in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio as a messenger for the War Department. I made $90 a month and was exempt from the draft. But after only six months on the job, I quit and joined the Army. All of my friends were getting drafted, and I wanted to go with them.
On March 6, 1943 I and about 100 new recruits boarded buses for the induction center at Fort Thomas, Ky. I remember the ride well because. I was with some of my high school buddies. When we got off the bus at Fort Thomas, the sergeant who met us immediately separated the whites recruits from the black recruits. “That was the way it was back then”.
After processing, the Black recruits were sent to Camp Lockett, Calif., a sprawling military base on the Mexican border about 60 miles southeast of San Diego. At the time, we had no idea where we were. I remember this guy came up to me and said. “You’ re in the cavalry”. Because I knew something about the history of the black cavalry, the ideal of being a horse soldier appealed to me. As a member of the newly organized 28th Regiment, I expected that, along with the long-standing 10th Cavalry. We would be part of a proud tradition of combat service as a Buffalo Soldier. But the white commanding officers at the camp had no such illusions.
Col. Waldemar Falck probably knew the 10th and 28th would never see action as a unit in World War II, even though the Army considered the regiments “disciplined, enthusiastic and combat-ready". Most theater commanders opposed using black troopers in battle. And although some black combat units had been shipped oversea with a few exceptions most were assigned to service units. Many others were still at training centers around the country. For 18 months, black troopers of the 10th and 28th cavalry trained in the mountains of eastern San Diego County, preparing for the day they would be called upon to fight for their country.
In North Africa, 1944 the all black 9th & 10th and 28th regiments were deactivated, and ended, one of the most honorable units in US Army.
Trooper Jones died this year. He was a retired L.A. County Worker and lived in Los Angles with his family. He was the President of the L.A. Chapter of the Ninth & Tenth (Horse) Cavalry Association between 1998 - 2003, the Chapter will miss him greatly, You could find him at all chapter’s events and sometimes a guess speaker at many local events, but always telling the story of the “Buffalo Soldiers of the old west and WWII”.
Served in the 28th Cavalry Regiment from 1942 to 1944 Rank of Cpl C Troop