In Celebration of Black History Month
Meet Nathaniel West
As a young man in the early 1950’s, Nathaniel enlisted in the army following in the footsteps of his father – a long-time serviceman – and joined the “Screaming Eagle” unit in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. After completing his training, he was shipped overseas to Bremerhaven, Germany in 1952. In this turbulent post World War II period, his squad was assigned to clean up the area and blow up German “pillboxes” (fortified bunkers) in the mountains. During one such mission, something exploded and Nathaniel and his squad were blown off the mountainside.
Once he fully recuperated from his injuries, Nathaniel was stationed in Bordeaux, France. As part of the “TC” (Transportation Corp), his job was to transport troops all over France in GMC’s, jeeps, trucks and weapon carriers. A few years later he returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina to get his discharge. His next move was to Northeast Philadelphia where he’s lived ever since, working first for a pipe supply company and then Caledonian Dye Works.
We salute Nathaniel for serving with great valor and pay tribute to the important contributions he made on behalf of our country’s safety.
In October 1951, the all-black 24th Infantry Regiment, which had served during the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II and the beginning of the Korean War, was disbanded. This eliminated the last lingering formal practice of segregation in the Army. Black soldiers now served in all combat service units and were involved in all major combat operations.