On Armistice Day 1918, black soldier wounded and later dies
The day an armistice was signed ending World War I on Nov. 11, 1918 – 100 years ago – was also the day Raleigh soldier Charles T. Norwood was wounded.
He later died, becoming the first African-American soldier from Raleigh who died in World War I.
American Legion Post 157 in Raleigh is named for Norwood.
Members of the post marched in the North Carolina Veterans Day Parade in downtown Raleigh on Saturday.
According to the American Legion, Norwood was an Army private who served with Company H, 365 Infantry, 92nd Infantry Division. At the time he lived with his mother, Emmeline Nor- wood, on East Lane Street, according to a newspaper clipping.
During World War I, African-American soldiers in the U.S. Army were segregated from white soldiers and assigned to units led by white officers, according to a war exhibit now on display at the N.C. Museum of History in downtown Raleigh.
Two African-American combat divisions served in France: The 92nd Divi- sion, where Norwood was assigned, served in the American Expeditionary Force and fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, according to the museum.
The other division was the 93rd Division, which served with the French army.
Norwood, 23, was wounded in France on Nov. 11, 1918, and died from his wounds and pneumonia on Jan. 17, 1919. The American Legion post in Raleigh was named for him when it was chartered in 1924. Norwood was buried in the Raleigh National Cemetery in 1921.
“It’s just a great blessing to be here today to honor (Norwood),” said American Legion member Willie Pulley, who marched in the Veterans Day parade. Pulley, the post chaplain, is an Army veteran.
Post member James Whitaker, also retired from the Army like Pulley, said it means a lot to be in the American Legion post named for Norwood. Whitaker said the post, which meets at Martin Street Baptist Church, works to help families in the community at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In a ceremony on the N.C. Capitol grounds after the parade, U.S. Army Col. (ret.) Martin Falls noted that it was “on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the guns of World War I fell silent across Europe, and America’s doughboys started coming home.”
The parade Saturday morning included high school marching bands, high school JROTC groups, the Triangle chapter of Veterans for Peace, Scouts groups and veterans groups.
LOSS AND LEGACY OF WORLD WAR I
Interest in the N.C. Museum of History’s World War I exhibit has been large enough for the
IT’S JUST A GREAT BLESSING TO BE HERE TODAY TO HONOR (CHARLES T. NORWOOD). Willie Pulley, Army veteran, American Legion member and post chaplain
Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Micek, a platoon sergeant with the 89th Military Police Brigade, tore open the brown packaging of his MRE on Thursday.
It was a chicken and noodle dish, one of the more sought-after rations because it came with Skittles. But from the cot outside his platoon’s tent at the Army’s latest forward operating base, Micek could almost see the bright orange and white roof of Whataburger, a fast-food utopia 8 miles away but off limits under current Army rules. The desert tan flatbed trucks at the base are for hauling concertina wire, not food runs.
Such is life on the latest front where U.S. soldiers are deployed. The midterm elections are over, along with President Donald Trump’s rafter-shaking rallies warning that an approaching migrant caravan of Central Americans amounts to a foreign “invasion” that warrants deploying up to 15,000 active-duty military troops to the border states of Texas, Arizona and California.
But the 5,600 U.S. troops who rushed to the brown, dry scrub along the southwest border are still going through the motions of an elaborate mission that appeared to be set into action by a commander in chief determined to get his supporters to the polls, and a Pentagon leadership unable to convince him of its perils.
Instead of football with their families on this Veterans Day weekend, soldiers with the 19th Engineer Battalion, fresh from Fort Knox, Kentucky, were painstakingly webbing concertina wire on the banks of the Rio Grande, just beneath the McAllenHidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge.
Nearby, troops from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state were making sure a sick call tent was properly set up next to their aid station. And a few miles away, Staff Sgt. Juan Mendoza was directing traffic as his engineer support company from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, unloaded military vehicles.
Come Thanksgiving, they most likely will still be here.
Two thousand miles away, at the Pentagon, officials privately derided the deployment as an expensive waste of time and resources, and a morale killer to boot.
Leading up to the mid- term vote Tuesday, the military announced that the border mission would be called Operation Faithful Patriot. But Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Election Day told officials to drop the name, and the Pentagon sent out a terse news release a day later saying the operation was now simply to be known as border support. The term “faithful patriot,” officials said, had political overtones.
A final cost estimate of the deployment has not been made available. But Defense Department budget officials fret that if the number of troops sent to the border does reach 15,000, the price tag could hit $200 million, with no specific budget allocation from which to draw.
The last time active- duty troops were sent to the border was in the 1980s, to help with counternarcotics missions. Since then, Trump’s predecessors have relied on the National Guard, which arrived with considerably less fanfare than the convoys of vehicles and tent cities that have sprung up in recent days.
The military’s morale issue is almost as worrisome. The deployment orders last until Dec. 15, meaning the troops will be on the border over Thanksgiving. They will have little to do beyond providing logistical support, unless Trump declares martial law. The troops will not be enforcing U.S. immigration law – that would run afoul of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, unless a special exception is made.
James Whitaker, left, and Willie Pulley are members of American Legion Post 157, named for Charles T. Norwood. Their post marched in the North Carolina Veterans Day Parade on Saturday in downtown Raleigh. Norwood, who lived on Lane Street, was the first African-American soldier to die during World War I. He was wounded hours before an armistice went into effect, ending World War I. Norwood is buried in Raleigh National Cemetery.
Broughton High School Air Force JROTC students march in the North Carolina Veterans Day Parade in downtown Raleigh on Saturday.