This is a book that I have had a strong desire to write about all of my adult life. The book is not about me, but about many African Americans from the Baltimore, Maryland and other areas throughout the state of Maryland. It is about a military club that was started in Baltimore in 1879. The club called themselves The Monumental City Guards, and like all other military clubs, they interacted with other such clubs, usually competing with them on military marching and soldiering. During the time when The Monumental City Guards were in Baltimore, so were the Baltimore Rifles, and another such club up in the Hagerstown area. These were all African American military clubs made up of African American officers and enlisted men.
I decided to write this book only about The Monumental City Guards because they proved to be survivals. By that I mean, at some point in time, all of these military clubs were looked at by the Maryland National Guard. Im sure that all of the clubs were closely examined by the Maryland National Guard, and accepted by them. My book has a lot of information on what transpired when the Adjutant General of Maryland and his staff examined The Monumental City Guard, and accepted them into the Maryland National Guard, not as an equal military until within the Guard, but as a Separate Company. This happened in 1882. All three of the African American military clubs were accepted into the Maryland National Guard, but The First Separate Company was identified as The First Separate Company.
As you can imagine, all three of these African American companies were carried as Infantry Companies. Somehow, and I do not know when, the Baltimore Rifles and the club from the Hagerstown area did not make it in the Maryland National Guard; only The Monumental City Guard survived, and remained as a Separate Company.
When the Spanish American War broke out, The First Separate Company was ordered to active duty; however, they did not follow the Maryland National Guard into the war, rather they were retained in Pimlico, and relegated to do interior guard duty until the war ended and they were reinstated into the Maryland National Guard.
When World War I broke out, The First Separate Company was again ordered to active duty, only this time, they were assigned to the 92nd Infantry Division and sent to war in France. The unit was not assigned duty with the American Expeditional Force, rather the entire division was assigned duty on the front lines with the French Army.
When World War II broke out, The First Separate Company was again ordered to active duty and spent the majority of the war doing interior guard duty until near the end of the war when the unit was sent to the Pacific, but only made it as far as Hawaii before the war ended.
In 1947, while the unit was still under the Maryland National Guard, they were converted to a truck battalion with an African American lieutenant colonel in command, all African American officers and all African American enlisted personnel. The unit was designated the 231st Transportation Truck Battalion with three truck companies, the 147th Transportation Truck Company, the 165th Transportation Truck Company and the 726th Transportation Truck Company. The battalion was not permitted to train in the hugh Fifth Regiment Armory, rather they had to train just a couple of block from the Fifth Regiment Armory above a market on Linden Avenue in Baltimore. It was called The Richmond Market Armory, that at one time was the Fourth Regiment Armory.
In 1950, when the Korean War broke out, the 231st Transportation Truck Battalion with its four truck companies were stationed in Virginia involved in their annual summer camp training. When the unit returned to Baltimore in the middle of the summer, it was discovered that the entire battalion was alerted for active duty to support the Korean War. In August 1950, the battalion, with two of its assigned three truck companies was shipped off to Camp Edwards, Massachusetts. The one company remaining in Baltimore until later during the summer of 1950 was the 165th Transportation Truck Company.
It must be noted at this time that the 231st Transportation Truck Battalion with its three assigned truck companies were the only Maryland National Guard unit ordered to active duty to support the Korean War.
After a very brief training in Massachusetts, the battalion was separated. Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 231st Transportation Truck Battalion with the 726th Transportation Truck Company was ordered to Korea. The 147th Transportation Truck Company was retained in the United States doing support service for about a year when they were deployed to Germany for support service.
It must be noted at this time that when the 726th Transportation Truck Company arrived in Pusan, Korea on December 31, 1950, they were the first United States National Guard to set foot in Korea to support the war. The Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 231st Transportation Truck Battalion disembarked in Pusan, Korea the very next day. These two units were separated during their entire stay in Korea.
1951 saw full integration of the United States Army in Korea. Both of the Maryland National Guard units became fully integrated units, and both served their country well in Korea during the war.
In 1955, when the 231st Transportation Truck Battalion was returned to National Guard control, the Adjutant General wanted them to be reverted to their segregated organization. The officers rebelled, and after much support from the public, the Governor of Maryland integrated the Maryland National Guard, thus ending the segregated 231st Transportation Truck Battalion.
My book covers the history of this wonderful, segregated military organization from 1879 through 1955. The book contains numerous interviews of the Korean War era veterans, plenty of photographs of the units from both Korea and Germany, and a brief display of photographs of the unit after it became integrated.
I am proud to say that I joined the 726th Transportation Truck Company on June 20, 1950, and had the honor of serving in Korea with them. I left the 726th Transportation Truck Company during the winter of 1951 when we were serving in North Korea. I joined the Regular Army where I remained for a little over twenty years.