Johnson, Thomas A. "Black Servicemen, Last to be Called Up in Past, May Be In Vanguard for
Social Change." New York Times, August 17, 1969, p. 54.
African-Americans, who had in previous wars been used only when necessary, were now fighting the
first fully integrated war in America's history. The article points out that many in the military
thought of it as a way not only to advance their own careers but to help push for acceptance and
equality for African-Americans as a whole. The high re-enlistment rate was proof of this (twice
as high than for whites in the Air Force, Marines, and Navy and three times as high in the Army).
The Defense Department's director for civil rights Judge L. Howard Bennett, an African-American,
said it was important for African-Americans in the service to have a positive experience free of
racism and inopportunity because, "they can either become the seeds for a dangerous
discontent or cadre for leadership in building a better society." The article also gives
statistics on the number of African-American officers in the service as well as the number
of African-Americans in specific officer ranks.