WWI, 369th Infantry Marching, NYC, 1919
Colors of the 369th Infantry in Parade in New York City. The 369th Infantry Regiment, formerly the 15th New York National Guard Regiment, was an infantry regiment of the United States Army that saw action in World War I and World War II. The 369th Infantry is known for being the first African-American and Puerto Rican regiment to serve with the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. The regiment was nicknamed the Harlem Hellfighters and the Black Rattlers. The US Army assigned the unit to the French Army for the duration of the United States' participation in the war. The men were issued French helmets and brown leather belts and pouches, although they continued to wear their U.S. uniforms. While overseas the 369th Regiment didn't make up not even 1 percent of the soldiers overseas, but were responsible for over 20 percent of the territory of all the land assigned to the United States. They saw longest service of any American regiment as part of a foreign army, and had less training than any before going into action. During its service, the regiment suffered 1500 casualties and took part in the following campaigns: Champagne-Marne, Meuse-Argonne, Champagne 1918, Alsace 1918. By the end of the war, 171 members of the 369th were awarded the Legion of Honor. At the end of the war, the 369th returned to New York City, and in February 1919, paraded through the city. Thousands lined the streets to see them: the parade began on Fifth Avenue at 61st Street, proceeded uptown past ranks of white bystanders, turned west on 110th Street, and then swung on to Lenox Avenue, and marched into Harlem, where black New Yorkers packed the sidewalks to see them. Despite the fact that they were decorated upon returning to New York the 369th Regiment were not allowed to participate in Victory Parade of 1919.
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