Tribute To Man Who Fought Discrimination In Military
PITTSBURGH - The sands of time often cover up some of the most worthy and heroic of human endeavors. As gays and women continue to seek social change and achieve social acceptance that they be allowed to serve as equals in the armed forces of our country, Professor Emeritus Leon L. Haley, has just released a timely book about Roscoe Robinson, the man who contributed much to ending the centuries-long history of racial discrimination in the U.S. Military.
In The Quiet One, Professor Haley brings to light the life and achievements of Roscoe Robinson Jr., the first African American four star general in the U.S. Army. Few people know or have any clue as to the challenges, abilities, courage and leadership he exhibited during his incredible career. Lieutenant General J.W. Becton, who contributed to the Introduction, wrote that although African Americans served in every war from the revolution to the present, there are few role models of color for people to follow in the business of soldiering.
The Quiet One seeks to fill that void and provides fascinating insights and historical detail on the evolution of race relations in the post WWII era. RobinsonÂs mission-oriented devotion to his duty and the tough challenges he was willing to take are vividly described. The historical accounts show how Robinson broke through the cloud of discrimination and overcame the myths that pervaded the armed forces that blacks were incapable of command. With incredible grace, style and distinction, he singlehandedly put to rest the legacy of racism in the US. military.
Here is the life story of one of AmericaÂs great patriots. He held many unusual posts, including commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., during which time he squarely faced the challenge of integrating women into the Division. He also served as deputy chief of staff for operations for the U.S. Army in Europe, and commanding general of the U.S. Army in Japan. At one time, he commanded the garrison on Okinawa in the Pacific.
As a young lieutenant Robinson was awarded the Bronze Star for outstanding valor in the heated battle for Pork Chop Hill during the Korean War. In the late 1950s he was selected to be a member of the staff of the U.S. military mission to Liberia. He also received a master's in international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh in 1964.
In 1968, Lieutenant Colonel Robinson commanded the Second Battalion, Seventh Cavalry, First Air Cavalry Division in Vietnam. During that period he led a joint forces incursion into neighboring Cambodia. The operation was a huge success as the Second Battalion attacked the Communist military headquarters in an area called Fishhook which was home to numerous enemy bases. That same year he led the Seventh Cavalry in another attack in the same area which caused massive losses to the North Vietnamese. For his heroic service in Vietnam, Robinson received the Silver Star.
In 1969, Robinson attended the National War College and then served as the executive to the chief of staff, United States Pacific Command, Hawaii. In 1975, he was promoted to general in Okinawa and became the commanding general of the U.S. Army Garrison, Okinawa. He served as commander of the Eighty-second Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina and later commanded the U.S. Army Japan IX Corps.
In 1982, he became the first black military officer to be promoted to four star general in the U.S. Army. He last served in the Army as the U.S. representative to the NATO Military Committee and then retired in 1985 after thirty-one years of military service.
About the author
Leon L. Haley, PhD, is a professor emeritus in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh. Over twenty-five year tenure at the University, he served in a number of capacities, including an Associate Dean, Acting Dean, and a Vice Chancellor for Student and Public Affairs. With African American history as an avocation, in addition to The Quiet One, he is the author of From the Staunton to the Allegheny: An African American Family Journey. Specializing in strategic planning, he now serves as a consultant for nonprofit organizations. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.