On Ar­mistice Day 1918, black sol­dier wounded and later dies

The Herald-Sun (Sunday) - - Front page - BY DAWN BAUMGARTNER VAUGHAN dvaughan@new­sob­server.com

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.


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.

PHO­TOS BY DAWN BAUMGARTNER VAUGHAN dvaughan@new­sob­server.com

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.

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