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Home » William Cullen Bryant

"I didn't feel too kindly toward the United States then. But that did not hinder me from doing the best I could." (Audio Interview, 13:54)

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   William Cullen Bryant
Image of William Cullen Bryant
William Bryant [2005]
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: 370th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Infantry Division
Service Location: United States; Europe; Italy
Rank: Staff Sergeant
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After being drafted in September 1941, William Bryant was as eager to serve as if he had enlisted. He found basic training "fun," and he requested an assignment to the paratroops. He was turned down for medical reasons, not his race, but he was soon on his way to Europe with the infantry. An incident with Red Cross workers who pointedly ignored black troops when handing out coffee and snacks didn't discourage him from wanting to get to the front lines. Even an incident of friendly fire that decimated his unit didn't cool his ardor. Bryant recalls the last day of the war and a long voyage home to his see his son, born while he was serving overseas.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (3 clips)
»Complete Interview  (65 min.)

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 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (3 items)
Volunteering for paratroopers but declared medically ineligible, not a case of discrimination; shipping out to Africa and Europe; frustrated that he didn't get to serve in combat right away; Red Cross workers discriminating against blacks in handing out coffee and snacks; bitter about his own country in the midst of serving it. (06:31) Incident of friendly fire decimating his company; encounter with officer who ordered him to tell the unit that it was firing on him; three of his men deeply shaken up by the incident. (08:14) Last day of the war; writing to loved ones to let them know they were okay; hard voyage coming back on liberty ship; taking 21 days as opposed to 9 going over. (02:41)
  
 
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  October 26, 2011
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