Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The last of the Buffalo Soldiers

An obituary from the Washington Post, 9/14: Retired 1st Sgt. Mark Matthews, one of the last Buffalo Soldiers and said to be the oldest, died of pneumonia Sept. 6 at Fox Chase Nursing Home in Washington, D.C. He was reported to be 111. Matthews [who trailed Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa] was heir to a proud military heritage that originated with the black soldiers who fought in the Indian wars on the Western frontier. Historians say that the Cheyenne, Kiowa and Apache tribes bestowed the appellation because the soldiers' hair reminded them of a buffalo's mane. They helped lay roads and telegraph lines, protected stagecoaches, battled the Apache chief Geronimo and fought in Cuba with Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War. Matthews joined up at the end of the Buffalo Soldiers' colorful Western exploits. The regiments that made up the Buffalo Soldiers — the 9th and 10th Cavalry regiments and the 24th and 25th Infantry regiments — stayed together for years afterward, fighting in World Wars I and II and Korea. The all-black regiments were disbanded in 1952 as the Army desegregated.

Lest we forget. Can you imagine that, in another 100 years, we'll be marking the death of the last of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force or maybe the last of the Seventh Cavalry?


Echo9er said...

Thanks Ron, for the comment. I appreciate that you took the time to read the blog and especially comment and remind me of those that have come before.


Eric Blair said...

Actually, the regiments were not disbanded, but rather integrated.

Currently, the 9th and 10th cavalries have activated squadrons, And the 2nd battalion of the 24th infantry regiment is just about to come back from a year in Mosul.

I believe the 25th infantry regiment is currently deactivated.