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African Americans in the Pacific during World War II
Roughly 1.2 million African Americans served in the United States military during World War II.

At the time, African Americans were known as "Colored" or "Negro". Every branch of military service was segregated with white officers in command. Regardless, African Americans distinguished themselves in service in both support and combat roles.

Private George Watson, Medal of Honor
U. S. Army, 29th Quartermaster Regiment who drowned rescuing others when his ship was sunk by Japanese bombers near Porloch Harbor, New Guinea, on March 8, 1943. In the late 1990's the Army conducted a three year review of the records of ten World War II Black heroes to determine if they met the standards for the Medal of Honor. Of these, seven names were submitted to Congress and U. S. President Clinton. One selected was Pvt George Watson from Birmingham, Alabama. During 1997, he earned the Medal of Honor.

Pacific Theater Locations where African Americans served
African Americans served across the Pacific, including:

Port Moresby
U. S. Army 96th Engineers General Service Regiment (Negro) built airfields and a causeway to Tatana Island in Fairfax Harbor. On June 25, 1942 three Negro engineers Cpl. Harvey M. Crandle , Pfc. Julius S. Franklin and Pvt. James Scott rescue Lt. Robert G. Rose from his wrecked P-39 Airacobra and earned a Soldier's Medal for Heroism.

Townsville
Listing of Black service troops that served at this location.

Bougainville Island
First ground combat For Black GIs in WWII: 93rd Infantry Division, 2nd Battalion (Negro).

Finschafen
Listing of Black service troops that served at this location.

Hollandia
Listing of Black service troops that served at this location

Biak Island
Listing of Black service troops that served at this location

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Punishment
In 1944, six African American soldiers who were hanged for an alleged gang rape of two white U.S. Army nurses at Milne Bay. Found guilty, the six were hanged at the Detention and Rehabilitation Center at Oro Bay. Reference: A Rape of Justice: MacArthur and the New Guinea Hangings

Click For EnlargementMelanesian Impact
Black Americans stationed in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and New Hebrides (Vanuatu) was inspiring to local Melanesian people who regarded the Black Americans as role models. Although segregated, Black Americans seemed privileged, and were an inspiration when previously white colonials and missionaries were the only other foreigners they interacted. Black Americans in Melanesia are partly credited to the start of independence movements in all three nations.

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