The focal point of my paper will be on the changes in the United States (US) armed forces over the last century. I chose to compare the Buffalo Soldiers, who existed from 1867-1896, and their experiences with the current state of the US armed forces. I was drawn to author, ZZ Packer’s “Buffalo Soldiers” because of my experience in the US armed services and, as I read the book it became clear that the US armed services today is very different from what it was at the time when the Buffalo Soldiers existed. I served honorably in both the United States Air Force and United States Army from 1985-2001, and my experiences are in stark contrast to the experiences of the Buffalo Soldiers. Buffalo Soldiers
Effective August 3, 1866, under the leadership of Major General H. Philip Sheridan the Buffalo Soldiers were formed. The US Congress had sanctioned an entire African-American unit commanded by non-blacks. The regiment's motto was, and remains, "We Can, We Will". The origin of the Buffalo Soldiers’ name was based on the resemblance between the curly hair and dark skin of the soldiers and buffalos. The regiment was composed entirely of African-Americans, who were illiterate, former slaves commissioned by Congress to patrol the Western region of the United States of America, following the Civil War. Consisting of two-infantry and two cavalry regiments, the ninth and tenth, they totaled over six-thousand men. Many of the African-American males enlisted into the Buffalo Soldiers as a form of economic stability to better their lives and the lives of their families. These African-American men were carefully selected for certain attributes such as commitment, courage, determination, hard working ethics, integrity, and self-worth. These qualities helped to prove their capability to become instrumental in eradicating negative depictions of African-American men who, at that time, were perceived as cowards and who suffered from an inferiority...
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