Part 1 of 5
Ed Emanuel, author of "Soul Patrol" gives the riveting true story of the first African American LRRP team in Vietnam. In his book, he mentions his close heroe, George Alexander. Both men served in Company F 51st LRP. LRRP/LRP or Long Range Recon Patrol/Patrol were the soldiers who pulled the high-risk missions in Vietnam.
During the Vietam campaign, blacks made up 10.6% or 275,000 of the wars' population. More than 7,240 black soldiers died in Vietnam. Overal, blacks suffered 12.5% of the deaths in Vietnam at a time when the percentage of blacks in the millitary was only 13.5% of the total population. (Emmanuel, pg. 126)
"At the time I arrived at Company F, the racial mix was approximately 40 percent black and 49 percent what with a small number of Latino soldiers. And, if you did the math, you'd discover that the government was involved in a form of institutionalized genocide. This revelation was my first discovery in the governments' Big Lie. Another Big Lie was the fairy tales Uncle Sam continued to perpetuate throughout the history of the war. Such as, "We are fighting to help the South Vietnamese people to exist without the threat of communist influence." Or, "We are fighting to keep America free."
In Vietnam the millitary mission was never clear. The fighting forces didn't have the full commitment of our own political leaders. It didn't take long to realize that thousands of lives were being lost for the sake of the Big Lie. As a nation and as soldiers, we had been "had."
It's been said numerous times, the Vietnam Was was a different kind of war, and it called for different kind of soldier from any other wars. If you were to disregard the caustic personalites of these young Lurp soldiers, you'd quickly find that they were a select group of top-notch volunteers the army conveniently deemed as "expendable." The profile of the men needed to become Lurps, called for tough and exceedingly well-trained, gung-ho soldiers who were sometimes "hard to control." The army would prove that even the most incorriggle of characters could be harnnessed into a positive entity when the right reinforcements and motivations are applied". (Emanuel, pg.59)
Like poverty, joblessness, and starvation.
Peace be upon you
Soul Patrol by Ed Emanuel, Recondo, Company F 51st LRP
"Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Wallace Terry
The Choice: The Issue of Black Survival in America by Samuel F. Yette